The kitchen is the one place in your home that people really tend to gather around. Kids do homework at the table or on the counter tops, adults stand and sip wine while indulging in conversation, family gathers around with food dishes for parties, everyone helping to try to organize a massive spread to share.
The truth is, the kitchen is a wonderful place to bring family together, but a messy kitchen can put a total damper on the togetherness atmosphere. Do you enjoy keeping your kitchen clean? No one really does. And it’s really tough to keep organized and keep track of things – food goes bad before it’s used, paper products run out, the sponge ends up hidden somewhere.
Follow these 6 tips to organize your kitchen to help you not only get organized, but to stay organized and keep a clean kitchen that’s always ready for entertaining!
Tackle the Drawers First
It’s all too often that our drawers in the kitchen become black holes of endless mess. Things are impossible to find in those darn things, and you’ll waste more time struggling to find what you’re looking for than you will to actually crack down and organize the entire drawer!
Start with an organizational strategy: use bins, dividers, containers, whatever means necessary to help you separate out the contents of all of your drawers, especially ones that contain utensils and small kitchen items. Make one section dedicated to silverware only, then place spatulas, wooden spoons and other longer cooking instruments in another section. Organize the “random” objects that often end up in kitchen drawers like tape, scissors, ribbon, thread, etc. into yet another section.
Make as many sections of the drawer as you need to, and make sure every single item has a place.
Try to keep kitchen items that are frequently used and frequently used together nearby each other for easy access. So if you tend to cook a lot, keep cooking tools and utensils near the stove and oven area, while if you like to bake, it might be a good idea to designate an area of your kitchen for storing your flour, sugar, baking powder, etc. along with some measuring cups and measuring spoons.
Keeping the entire kitchen categorized can help you find the things you need right away the minute you’re looking for them. Organize your refrigerator in this same way, too – keep dairy products nearby one another, meats in another area, fruit and veggies in the drawers, peanut butter and jelly close together and so on.
Get Things Off the Counters
The more space you can make on your counters, the more you’ll be able to accomplish in the kitchen. We all know that the kitchen can be the center of much of the actual work that gets done in the house, so freeing up counter space can be incredibly important.
All this means is that you should try to make sure that once you’ve organized and categorized your kitchen, there’s nothing left out on the counters. If you have a knife holder on your counter, consider replacing it with a magnetic strip next to the sink that holds the knives against a cabinet. The same is true for a paper towel or napkin holder – find ones that you can mount either underneath or on the side of your cabinets to save counter space.
Organize cooking instruments that you use frequently and that get left out into bins or containers if they must stay out on the counters.
Stash the Cookbooks
There’s no reason for cookbooks to be out on display, really, for all to see. They just get messy when you cook and they take up far too much space.
Consider hanging a bookshelf above the sink or next to your cabinets and store your cookbooks there. While you’re cooking, they make racks that you can mount underneath your cabinets that conveniently fold down to hold your cookbook so you don’t get it messy with all of the food around.
The product can run a bit expensive, but it’s worth the investment to help you both organize your cookbooks and keep them clean and away from all of the food in your kitchen.
Organize Your Pantry
Your pantry should be your next item of business. Do you just throw food in there without any organizational system? Big mistake.
Keep dry food products together in one area, and keep things that have expiration dates organized based on when they go bad, so you know which ones to use first. Keep snacks in one area and healthier options like canned fruits and vegetables in another area. Keep baking ingredients in your designated baking area for quick and easy access, too, and organize your spices based on how frequently you use them when you cook.
Keep Cleaning Supplies Handy
Don’t ever let yourself run out of cleaning supplies. Instead, consider purchasing these items in bulk so you always have some on-hand. Organize them in an under-sink bin or divider so you can just grab what you’re looking for and carrying on with your cleaning.
A well-organized kitchen will only go so far if it’s never clean – remember that this is where you handle a lot of your raw meats and other foods that carry large amounts of germs, and clean up frequently throughout the day.
Jackie Ryan is a writer who loves tackling new organizational projects. She recently purchased several food storage containers to help extend the life of her food products and she has organized them all into categories already!