Do you have an area in your kitchen that causes you stress? Are you constantly moving things around to find the one pot you need? Are you nervous to open the pantry for fear of what you might find hidden in the back? Today, I want to share 5 steps you can take to organize your kitchen and reduce your stress. You can do each step separately over the course of a week or tackle it all in a day. Either way, you will be so happy you did. Let's get started!
Step 1 - Declutter
This step can feel overwhelming so we are going to start simple - just begin with one drawer. Yes, that's it - just one. Start with a drawer you use a lot like the eating utensil drawer. Take everything out and set it on your counter. Sort through the items and put everything in either a keep pile, in the trash, or in a donate/sell box. Pretty soon you will be done with all of your drawers. Then, you can start in on the cabinets and then work on your food pantry. Throw out expired foods and donate foods you will not use. Pretty soon you will have decluttered your entire kitchen.
Step 2 - Categorize
This step is all about looking at the items you are keeping and categorizing them in a way that makes sense for how you and your family use the kitchen. One thing you can do right away is separate your food items from your non-food items like cookware. Most people like doing this anyway. Then, group like items into sub-categories.
Food sub-categories might include:
Spices & Oils
Breads & Grains
Non-food sub-categories might include:
Pots and Pans
Cutting Boards and Knives
Plates and Bowls
Glasses and Mugs
The idea here is to keep like items together once you put them back into your drawers and cabinets. Before you start putting everything back, take time to think about how your family uses the kitchen. You may want to change things around a bit.
Think about how you move around the kitchen. What you do when cooking, putting dishes away, or prepping food? Think about what you need to have easy access to. You can put items used most often in front of the cabinet space and in the lower shelves. Items you don't use as often can be stored higher up or in the back. This is the time to change things up and try them in a different place. You can always change again as you discover what works best. If you need some inspiration, here are some ideas that might help.
Glasses and Mugs - you can put these close to the refrigerator or coffee station
Dishes and Bowls (by drinkware)
Spices and oils (or a drawer by the stove)
Storage containers can go in either upper or lower areas
Food can also be put in upper areas, but if you have a pantry put food there
Lower Drawers & Cabinets
Eating Utensils in a drawer
Cooking Utensils in a drawer by the stove
Appliances - you can also store them in a pantry if you have space
Pots, pans, and bakeware can go next to the stove or in an oven drawer
Mixing bowls and cutting boards
If you have young children, put their dishes in a low drawer or cabinet so they can safely reach them
Plastic wrap, tin foil, oven mitts, extra towels etc. can go in a drawer or pantry
Cleaning supplies, trash bags, compost bags, etc. preferably safely under the sink
4. Everything in its Place
Now comes the satisfying part. Start putting your things back where you want them to live. As you add things back be sure to write down any organizers you might want to buy. You might want to buy some baskets to keep snacks together, a lazy susan for your spices, or some shelves to make best use of space. There are so many affordable options available from places like the Dollar Store, Target, and IKEA. You can have fun with color too!
5. Keep Organized
After all of the time and effort you put into organizing your kitchen, the last thing you want to have happen is disarray! Be sure you talk to everyone in the family about where things go and create systems for putting groceries or dishes away. Labels really help and you can put them on storage bins, containers, shelves, or even on the doors if needed. Try to encourage everyone to put things away neatly - when things look tidy we are more likely to keep them that way. Gentle reminder do wonders.
You did it! You organized your kitchen! Doesn't it feel surprisingly amazing? After a few weeks of enjoying your organized and efficient kitchen, you may be ready for another project. I will be tackling the scary master closet next -- so stay tuned.