Now that you have implemented the 7 baby steps from Home Organization, I am sure you are beginning to breathe a little bit easier.
Let’s keep the momentum going by digging a little deeper into our organizational journey by starting with the kitchen.
The kitchen is the most used room in our house, so I thought I would post some tips on how to organize it and keep it running smoothly. I believe that a kitchen will function effectively if it is organized well.
There are lots of ways to organize your kitchen and make it work for you without spending a lot of money.
Before you begin, you will first have to figure out what your storage needs are. Take a look at the contents in your drawers and cabinets. Are the items located where you use them? Can you grab an item without moving others out of the way? Be sure to look at each piece and determine if it is something you need to keep. You may realize you have multiple items or pieces that you haven’t used in a while and can donate or recycle.
There are 5 work zones in a kitchen and it’s best to store the items where you use them. The 5 zones are: food preparation, refrigerator, stove, sink & cleanup and serving. Take a look at your kitchen and note where these zones are in your kitchen. Trust me, when you store your items in the correct zone, you will be able to prepare meals and clean up more quickly and efficiently. I like to periodically go through my cabinets and drawers to make sure items are where they should be.
Once you locate the zones in your kitchen, you can start moving items to where they belong. The following ideas will help you decide where they should go.
Cooking Utensils-Spoons, spatulas, ladles and whisks should be located near the stove. Some options for storage include a utensil holder on the counter or a rail installed on the wall above the stove. You can also store them in a drawer if you have one near the stove. This will help keep all of your utensils accessible while you cook.
Flatware- Forks, Knives, Spoons and other small kitchen utensils should be located in drawers near the prep and cleaning areas. To eliminate chaos, select an organizer that fits your drawer. Organizers come in wood, plastic or wire and some stack within a drawer to maximize space.
Pots & Pans-Pots should be located in a base cabinet near the cooktop. Cookie sheets, broiler pans, baking pans and cutting boards should go near the oven. If you are tight on space, you can purchase a lid holder to install inside the door of the base cabinet. Lid holders are also available as a shelf rack and will hold them vertically on a shelf.
Knives-Knives should be located near the food prep area. They can be stored on a magnetic wall strip, a freestanding block or in a drawer.
Cooking Materials- Items like cooking oils, spices and condiments you use frequently should be located near the stove. These items can be stored in drawers, in an upper or lower cabinet or on a shelf on the wall. Baking ingredients and dry goods can be stored on the counter in canisters.
Dishes- Dishes should be stored near the sink or dishwasher. Most people store dishes in upper cabinets (so do I!), however, you can also have a plate rack on the countertop or put the dishes in a deep drawer. Using shelf maximizers in the cabinets allow you to use more space in the cabinet. Maximizers come in wood, wire and acrylic. Some sit on a shelf and others can hang below it.
Cleaning Supplies- Use the space under the sink for cleaning supplies. Consider putting a lock on the cabinet if you have little ones running around. You can also keep your trash under the sink if you don’t have a pull out trash bin.
Small Appliances-Only keep the appliances that you use every day on the countertop-all others can be stored in a base cabinet. Having only items of necessity on the counter will give you more room to prepare meals.
Pantry-Use the pantry for storing non-perishable food and dry goods. Keep everything in view-store larger items behind shorter ones and place cans on risers so they don’t get lost in the back. If you are able to see everything in your pantry, you will always know what you have on hand and eliminate multiple purchases. There are options to replace your shelves in the pantry or cabinet with inexpensive sliding drawers or you can install small racks on the inside of the door to hold condiments, foil, plastic wrap, plastic bags or small snacks.
Linens-Everyday linens like placemats, tablecloths and napkins can be stored in drawers near the serving area. You can use dividers out of cardboard or plastic to separate the items in the drawer.
Wine-Wine should be stored on its side, away from direct sunlight and heat. Avoid places near the stove, oven or dishwasher. You can find inexpensive bottle holders that fit inside cabinets.
Refrigerator/Freezer-Empty your refrigerator and freezer and give them a good cleaning. Toss any expired or spoiled food. When refilling the fridge, put like items together and be sure to put older items in front so they can be used up before going bad. When storing leftovers, make sure they are in the smallest container that they will fit in because air increases the chance of bacteria getting onto the food. Also be sure to label leftovers and items in the freezer with the date so you can be sure to eat them before they spoil.
Eggs should be left in their original carton and should not be stored on the refrigerator door because the temperature fluctuates each time you open the door. The best place for eggs is in the back where it is coldest and they will keep for at least 3 weeks past the expiration date on the carton.
- Fish should be refrigerated as soon as you get home and eaten within one or two days. If you are not going to eat it within 2 days, place it in the freezer for up to six months.
- Store meat in the back of the refrigerator as soon as you get home and cook it within 24 hours. If you freeze the meat, wrap it in foil or plastic wrap. Freeze ground meat for up to 4 months and other meats up to 9 months. If you use freezer bags, squeeze out the excess air before sealing.
As you can see, it really is quite easy and inexpensive to transform your kitchen from one you dread being in into one you don’t want to leave.
Feel free to share how you organize your kitchen and how it helps you to stay organized. I’d love to know! ;)