At least once a year I like to take a look around my kitchen and reorganize it a bit. Surely I’m not the only one that gets in a rush and puts things back in cabinets that are hastily stacked or shoved in there. Or I acquire new tools or kitchen equipment (like my panini maker a little over a year ago) that finds its home in a maybe less-than-ideal spot.
And like I mentioned earlier this week, Back-To-School time is kind of a reset time for me and a natural time for me to get organized. And while my home is not overly large in general, the kitchen has a lot of storage space–it’s actually one of the reasons we were sold on this house!
Throughout the year, I find myself in other people’s kitchen and their organization system often does not make sense to me. But most often that’s because there is no organization system…things are just thrown in wherever they might fit and that’s it.
Getting started organizing is pretty simple. Here are few tips on where to begin:
DECLUTER AND PURGE Whether it’s from blending a family after marriage or just realizing that you’ve collected a variety of like items over the years that you’ve picked up or received as hand-me-downs, it’s good to take an annual look at the tools you have on hand and keep only what you need. Do you really need to have four different soup ladles? How many serving spoons or forks do you really need? A couple of years ago, we bought a set of new plates and bowls as ours were chipped after many years of use. That was a great time for us to assess how we really used our daily serving wear. As a family of four, we decided to downsize the quantity of dishes we had, saving us valuable space!
STORE SEASONAL ITEMS OUT OF THE KITCHEN Up until a few years ago, I used to keep all of our holiday serving pieces in the same cabinets as everything else. It was crammed and I constantly had to move things around to get to what I needed when I needed it! Now I have a tub of those items that go up in the attic with all the rest of my seasonal decorations so they are out of sight and out of my way until I need them for a particular time of year. I’ve even been known to designate an unused hall or linen closet shelf to seasonal item storage (that was, until I needed that space too!)
KEEP LIKE ITEMS TOGETER AND CREATE “ZONES” Keeping like items together will make it easier for you to get started cooking. For example, when I start baking, I can pull out all the measuring cups and bowls that I will need from just one cabinet instead of going all over the place. Some of the zones I have set up are
Baking Zone: Measuring cups, mixing bowls, mixer, casserole dishes, muffin pans, baking sheets, etc. all go in these cabinets.
Cooking Zone: This is where we keep our pots and pans, colanders, small appliances like food processor, blender, slowcookers, etc.
Daily Zone: I have two cabinets for this–one is for plates and bowls, the other is for cups and glassware.
Drawers: These are a little more mixed up but I do store flatware in one drawer and cooking utensils in the neighboring drawer. Next to the sink is where I keep my kitchen towels so I can have a fresh one every day. Next to the stove is where I keep my hot pads and less frequently used kitchen tools like thermometers, etc.
Decorating Zone: This is where I keep my TOO LARGE collection of cookie cutters, decorating bags & tips, sprinkles, etc. It is above the oven and out of the way but still accessible when I need them.
Storage Zone: This is where I keep all our storage containers for leftovers. I’m currently trying to switch over to more glass containers but since I sold Tupperware many, many years ago, I have a lot of that there too. I also keep our waste-free lunch containers there…I probably have too many.
Serving Zone: This cabinet is where I keep our serving platters and bowls. Since they’re not used as often, it’s nice to have them out of the way when it comes to daily food preparation but still close at hand for those days that we have friends or family over.
Non-Food Zones: Because we have lots of cabinets, I even have some “non-food prep” cabinets too like the Party Cabinet where I keep all our party supplies. Things like leftover rolls of crepe paper or balloons, my sets of glass and reusable plastic plates, ice cream party bowls and more. Another cabinet is the Craft Cabinet. In it we have things like play dough or painting supplies. I did this originally when my kids were younger so it would make getting things out for a quick activity easy for me. Now that they are a bit older, they can get out what they need when they want it!
A little organizing can help you and other find what they need to help you streamline your time in the kitchen. Here’s some links to some excellent articles with more tips to help you get started!