Here’s how to get organized in your kitchen. Streamlining things like kitchen cupboard storage solutions and kitchen utensil storage makes it easier to cook at home. And when it’s easier to cook at home, you’re more likely to actually cook at home! Get organized as one more step toward a more self-reliant lifestyle.
Guest post by Brette Sember.
The kitchen, among all other rooms in the house, is the most likely to show the fruits of our labors — and the mess of our hard work! Whether you’re an active homesteader, a city dweller, or living life in suburbia, you know that projects like canning, gift making, or even just cooking at home can get hectic, especially if the space isn’t organized well.
The kitchen is one of the rooms in the home that produces the highest amount of waste. An organized kitchen allows you to use less and use what you have more responsibly. Learning to improve kitchen efficiency will not only save time and money, but will make you more likely to want to spend time cooking at home and making the most of this important space.
Multiple uses creates multiple confusion
Your kitchen is probably the most used room in your home, even if you don’t cook at home every day. It’s the room in the home that has the most traffic and which we ask to do the most.
Think about the activities that are happening in your kitchen. Most people use the kitchen as a multi-purpose room. Homework, laundry, crafts, bill-paying, and more all take place in this one space. If you can shift some of these activities to other areas of the home, it will free up storage space.
Keep your scrapbooking supplies in a hall closet and move your household files to a box under your bed, for example. Your kitchen will feel less cluttered and over-used.
Get organized one step at a time
The thought of completely re-organizing your kitchen is just too daunting. Instead, tackle one drawer, cupboard or shelf a day to make progress. Completely reorganizing your entire kitchen is an overwhelming task, but if you can find five minutes a day, you can get a lot done over a week’s time.
Get organized while your pasta is cooking, your coffee is dripping, or your broccoli is steaming.
Maximize your kitchen storage space
The biggest complaint people have about their kitchens as they get organized? There just isn’t enough storage space. No need to build out though! In truth, most people don’t maximize the space they have. You likely have wasted or under-used space in your kitchen. If you can turn that into workable space, your kitchen will feel much bigger.
- Keep your eyes open for square storage containers at the thrift store. Use them for pantry items like flour, pasta, cereal, rice, beans, etc. Square containers stack and fit together on shelves much easier and actually save space (eliminating those gaps between round containers). Your food will stay fresh longer. Plus, you’ll be able to see how much you have left, so you won’t overbuy.
- Trying to get organized? Look up for more storage space. Install shelves over the doorways of the room. Hang a three-tier basket from the ceiling for additional space or install a pot rack. Put shelving around your soffits for tons more storage. If you have a separate pantry with a door, install storage above the door on the inside.
Kitchen utensil storage
- Bring in a recycled book case. Paint it to match your cabinets and mount matching drawer pulls. It will look like additional built in cabinetry.
- Add dividers to your drawers to keep similar items together.
- Consider mounting a magnetic knife strip to the wall for knife storage.
- Make the most of small spaces and install shallow shelving for small utensils or spices.
Kitchen cupboard storage solutions
- Use the insides of cabinet doors for storage.
- Mount wire racks for spices
- Hang pot lids using a metal towel bar
- Add a message board
- Store shopping bags
- Install roll out drawers inside your lower cabinets. These cabinets often end up messy and underused. No one wants to crawl on their hands and knees and reach back into the dark corners! You’ll double your usable space with this trick.
- Add metal standing shelves to double your storage area in cupboards. Instead of one level of cans or glasses, you can now fit two.
No more junk
- Banish the junk drawer. This is additional storage space you could be using. Dump everything out and sort it. Put everything away in a newly identified home and gain an entire drawer.
- A pencil cup on the counter for pens
- Add a small container to the plastic wrap drawer for twist ties
- Velcro a flashlight to the inside of a cabinet drawer
- Add a magnetized notepad to the fridge
Make cooking at home a snap
When your kitchen is not easy to use, it can be hard to motivate yourself to cook dinner at home. And cooking at home helps save money, eliminate packaging, and leads to healthier choices.
- Create meal kits—group the ingredients you need to make your go-to dishes. This way you can just reach into the pantry and grab everything you need for a recipe. It also makes it much easier to direct someone else in your home to make dinner this way.
- Make a list of the dishes your family enjoys that you make over and over. Buy all the ingredients and always keep them on hand. You will always have something to cook.
- Use the one out, one in rule. If you use up a bag of rice, buy a new one. This way you will always have the same basic items for easy meal prep.
- Prep food before you put it away. Make hamburgers from ground beef, trim meat, and wash lettuce and vegetables before refrigerating. Divide large packages of things like bacon or chicken breasts into serving sizes before freezing.
Create a better food storage system
- Date your leftovers. No sniff test needed to determine if you can use them.
- Store items in clear containers. It will be easy to see what you have at a glance.
- Keep a running list of what’s in your freezer. Post it on the door and cross items off when you use them and add them when you buy them. This way you will always know what you have. This eliminates spoilage waste, as well.
- Keep track of your pantry items with a similar list.
- If you do your own canning, use this system to keep track of what you’ve used and what you have plenty of.
- Use magnetic spice tins and store them on the refrigerator.
Bring your kitchen to life
Too often when we try to get organized we forget about comfort. The kitchen needs to be a room that is welcoming and warm. While you’re clearing your counters and shelves of clutter, don’t forget to keep some touches that express your personality and make the room comfortable.
Stencil quotes on the wall, frame children’s art or family photos, rotate seasonal decorations, or choose one really gorgeous expensive item that makes you happy. A big throw rug, pricey vase, or framed print can expresses your personality.
With a little thought you can get organized and make your kitchen a place you love to spend time in.
Brette Sember is the author of The Organized Kitchen published by Adams Media. She writes the popular food blogs No Pot Cooking and Martha And Me. She is also the author of The Parchment Paper Cookbook and the upcoming The Muffin Tin Cook Book from Adams Media.