Organizing can be tough for most people... and the kitchen can be toughest of all. When your kitchen is the focus of family activity it can often be the focus of clutter also! Sometimes the toughest part is getting started, so let’s tackle that kitchen clutter.
Start slow. It taken months for your kitchen to become cluttered so it may not be not realistic to try and organize everything in one day or even a weekend. Instead, start small one drawer, one cupboard or section at a time. Make a commitment every day to declutter another part of your kitchen until it done.
Work around ‘the magic triangle’. The area bounded by your sink, refrigerator and oven is the ‘magic triangle’ in a kitchen. Only have frequently used items in that central area. Other items used infrequently should be close by and those items seldom used (the turkey pan for example) should be stored in high or less easily reached areas.
Think of your kitchen in terms of zones. There should be four main zones or areas in your kitchen. The preparation area, the cooking center, the serving area and the cleanup area. Organize items according to these work zones and it will immediately make your kitchen more efficient.
Only keep what you need and use. Kitchens attract a ton of useless but seemingly “must-have” gadgets and gizmos. The first step to getting organized is to seriously par down food, dishes, appliances and food in your kitchen. Seriously look at what you use when cooking and discard those items that have outlived their usefulness. Do you really need that bread machine taking up valuable counter space?
The one-month cardboard box test. Empty the contents from your kitchen utensil drawers into a cardboard box. For one month only put back into the drawers what you use from the box. At the end of the month seriously consider discarding what is still in the cardboard box. Face it. If it’s still in the box after four weeks – you don’t need it!
Keep like items together. Whether it’s plates, pots and pans or food items, be sure to keep similar items in the same place. Following this rule will also save time and money as you can quickly and easily see what items you have in stock and not over-purchase.
Keep flat surfaces clear. A clear counter top makes any kitchen look more organized. Use a notice-board and even one file tray labeled for each family member on a counter in the kitchen to control paper clutter and ensure everyone has a place to post important notes and notices. Consider flat surfaces your preparation area – not your storage area!
Claim vertical space in your kitchen. Make use of the space you have. Expand the available space in your cupboards by using a lazy-Susan, mini step-shelves, racks and even ‘back-of-door’ shelving systems to hold extra items. These are easy and inexpensive solutions that will help you avoid losing items in the back of deep cupboards.
Keep recipes and cooking ideas centrally located. Purge your recipe files and cookbooks of items that you will never use. Find an inexpensive scrapbook or file to hold all of those fantastic recipes you find in magazines or are given by friends. Keep the scrapbook with other cookbooks in a central place in your kitchen.
Regularly check drawers and cupboards. Schedule time every six months to check the contents of drawers and cupboards and every three months to discard old food or perishables. This regular review will mean that the kitchen clutter will not get on top of you again!