Kitchens can be tough to tame. Mail piles up. Your kids leave their homework out. And somewhere in that mess, you have to put together a nutritious dinner. Make your job easier by taking back your kitchen! Follow these seven steps to an organized kitchen.
The first step in any organization project is to purge. Go through cabinets and drawers with a critical eye. Decide what you truly need (Does anyone really need two pizza cutters?), and eliminate the excess. Relocate items that don’t belong in the kitchen, like the dog’s leash or your kids’ backpacks.
Conquer food clutter
Next, tackle your pantry, refrigerator and freezer. Toss expired products. Get rid of anything you know you won’t use. For instance, if you received a jar of canned peaches from a neighbor, but no one in your family likes peaches, donate it to a food bank. Write expiration dates on food packages and frozen items.
Divide your kitchen into functional zones. For example, group coffee supplies like mugs, grinder and scoop together in the cabinet above your countertop coffeemaker. Combine your baking needs in one drawer and your grilling needs in another. Strive to put like with like throughout your kitchen.
Install organizational tools
Though it’s tempting to stock up on organizational tools like bins, baskets and labels at the beginning of a project, wait until you’ve purged and grouped so you have a true picture of what you really need. The trick is not to overcomplicate your storage needs. Focus on simple solutions like drawer and shelf dividers to create more space in overcrowded zones.
Use labels to help everyone in your family know where everything goes. Place labels on bins and baskets in your pantry. You can even discreetly label drawers and cabinets by sticking the label on the top ledge that isn’t visible when the drawers or cabinets are closed. By making it clear where everything goes, your family will be involved in the daily kitchen organization process.
Set up systems
Now that you have a structure in place, set up systems to streamline maintenance. Post a calendar on your fridge with a monthly reminder to clean out food clutter and quarterly reminders to purge cabinets and drawers. Keep a grocery list where everyone can see it and add to it so that no one duplicates purchases.
This is the most important step: You must follow through. When you dedicate a chunk of time to purging and organizing, you see dramatic results. The ongoing, day-to-day organizing may not feel as satisfying, so it can be tough to stay motivated. But with a little bit of effort every day, your kitchen will stay organized and free from clutter.
Watch: How to organize a small pantry