Keeping a kitchen clean and tidy can feel like a never-ending task. However, with the right equipment and simple systems put in place, you can stay on top of this daily chore.
The key to keeping your kitchen clean is to organize the cabinets and declutter your items. Here are some helpful step-by-step tips to guide the process.
Create a Plan
Before you dive into organizing and decluttering, you need to make a plan. Otherwise, you’ll end up in a worse situation than before. Take some time to sketch a plan of your kitchen and outline your kitchen cabinets. From there, you can start to plan where things should be stored before you start moving anything.
Drafting a plan will also help you tackle a little bit at a time and strategize what you’ll need to buy to stay organized.
Buy Storage to Suit Your Needs
People often make the mistake of buying storage bins and totes before they’ve designated how they’ll be used. Instead, buy storage options that suit your needs based on the plan you’ve outlined.
Some common items for kitchen storage include:
- Canisters and jars – these can be used to decant your dry goods and keep them fresh and organized. Consider using a label maker to make it easier to find decanted items, especially when similar containers are used.
- Drawer dividers – these can be used for everything from utensils to junk drawers to keep things in their place as a drawer is opened and closed.
- Wire baskets – these are ideal for keeping things like granola bars and on-the-go snacks together in a pantry. Small wire baskets can also be used instead of drawer dividers.
- Hooks – these can be used to hang utensils or cleaning supplies, and make the most of wasted space. You can also use hooks under the cabinets to hang mugs, pots, and pans.
- Wire racks – use these to capitalize on vertical space in pantries and cabinets.
- Vertical separators – these can be used to keep trays, cutting boards, and baking sheets organized and easily accessible.
- Metallic strips – use these to hang knives, spice canisters, and other utensils as needed.
By purchasing things to suit specific storage needs, you’ll avoid exacerbating your organization issues by adding more totes and bins to get lost in the fray.
Take Everything Out
The best way to organize your kitchen is to take everything out of its current space and start from scratch. This task might seem daunting and overwhelming, but it allows you more freedom to visualize where things will go and give your kitchen a deep cleaning.
Discard Unused or Expired Items
Once everything is out of the cabinets, it’s time to declutter. Look at the best before date on food items from the back of your pantry. If they’re expired, discard them properly. Be logical about food that isn’t expired, but that’s likely to expire before its used— for example, an extra can of chickpeas you purchased for a specific recipe and didn’t use. Send those items to the food bank.
You’ll also want to take a long, hard look at your various utensils and appliances. If there are items you no longer use, sell or donate them. For appliances that you only use a few times a year, plan to store them at the back of a cabinet or in another room entirely. Take duplicate utensils to the local thrift shop and discard broken items.
Wipe Down Your Interior Cabinets
There’s no better time to deep clean your kitchen than when the cupboards are empty. Wipe down the interior cabinets and scrub any areas where old food has collected. This simple task will help prevent the presence of mystery odors and pests going forward.
Organize by Zones or Function
While everything is out of the cabinets, put them in groups based on their function. This approach to kitchen organizing is often referred to as the “zones method” and allows you to access appliances and dishes that are frequently used together. For example, rather than storing a coffee maker with the crockpot, you could store it with the mugs and canisters with coffee and filters.
Using the zone approach to kitchen organization ensures that you’re only taking items out from a specific area, making it easier to tidy up after. After grouping items by zone or function, start the process of putting them away.
Planning Better Cabinets
If you’re renovating your kitchen or building a new home, plan ahead by installing kitchen cabinets with built-in organization. Adding things like trundle drawers and racks can utilize the space more efficiently. Consider adding custom cabinets in otherwise wasted space, like the gap between the fridge and cupboards.
With careful planning and a strategic approach to optimizing the available space, you can declutter and organize your kitchen.