How to Organize Your Kitchen
A poorly organized kitchen can really take the fun out of cooking. If you find yourself running around the kitchen for various items needed for cooking, if pots and pans crash around each time you cook, or if you find yourself thinking you need a kitchen remodel, it’s probably time to re-organize.
Here are some tips to help along the way.
Store it Where You Use it
The most foundational principle of kitchen organization is to put things where you most often use them. For example, if you often add spices to your dishes while cooking on the range, your spices should be within arm’s reach.
But the bread maker? It definitely shouldn’t take up space next to the range.
Along similar lines, many cooks find organizing their kitchen into centers works well.
For example, the cleaning center (where you store dish soap, rags, sponges, and similar items) can be under the sink; the cooking center (for pots and pans, baking sheets, etc.) can be near the range; the food prep center (where mixing bowls, measuring cups, etc. are kept) can be a designated area with counter space; the serving center (where dishes, linens, flatware, etc. are stored) can be in a more out of the way location.
Clear the Counters
If you don’t use the bread maker at least once a month, keep it off the counter. The same thing goes for a lot of kitchen gadgets, like mixers, toasters, food processors, and blenders.
Anything that isn’t regularly used needs to go inside the cabinets.
Do You Use It?
Speaking of gadgets, how many of them do you actually use? Sort through your drawers and cabinets and get rid of anything you haven’t used in a year.
And while you’re at it, get rid of duplicate items. In the future, purchase items for the kitchen that have multiple uses – so you only have to store one item instead of several.
The items you most use in your kitchen should be the easiest to access. That means they need to be on the lowest shelves and toward the back of cabinets.
Save the back of deep cabinets and the highest shelves for infrequently used items.
Do the inside of your cabinets and drawers make it difficult to find what you need? Invest in some inexpensive organizing tools to bring order to chaos. Simple plastic bins costing a dollar a bunch can organize a wide variety of smaller items.
Inexpensive pot lid holders, baking sheet holders, utensil organizers, and similar products can also make a real difference in how smoothly your kitchen runs.
Hang it Up!
Make sure there’s a place to hang oven mitts and dish towels, and consider hanging your pots. Also think about other ways to utilize wall space, like a unit that holds and dispenses parchment, paper towels, plastic wrap, and foil.
Hanging things under the cabinet can work, too, as long as it won’t interfere with countertop work space.
Use Cabinet Door Space
The inside of cabinet doors is an excellent place to mount a message center, notepad and pencil, and equivalency charts. In some cases, it’s also a good place to install a spice rack or an organizer designed to hold odds and ends.
Use caution with the latter, however, or you may interfere with the door’s ability to fully shut.
Organize by Category
Think of your kitchen as a library and organize its contents by category. For example, instead of letting your pantry be a mish-mash of different foods, group all canned beans together, all canned fruits together, all flours together, and so on.
Do the same in the refrigerator, freezer, and all the cabinets and drawers.
Keep recipes in one central location. Store magazine-clipped and Our Deer-printed recipes in a three ring binder with plastic protective sheets. Keep cookbooks in the same area.
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