Getting your kitchen organized can be a big chore, especially if you haven’t done it in a while. By following the process and tips of the pros, you’ll have your kitchen cabinets and drawers organized in no time.
A mistake many people make is trying to organize cabinet by cabinet or drawer by drawer. Often, this just leads to moving the same items back and forth to different places instead of truly organizing anything. The pros know that organizing is a process that involves your entire kitchen. Here’s how the pros approach a kitchen cluttered out of control.
1. Remove everything. Get some moving boxes from the local hardware store and pack up all of the items in your kitchen and move them out.
2. Clean. When clutter sits, even in drawers and cabinets, it can collect dust and debris. Once you’ve removed all of the items from your cabinets, clean them thoroughly inside and out.
3. Organize your items for review. If you had mugs or dishes in more than one place, reorganize them into the same box or set of boxes so you can review each type of item at once.
4. The first purge. The first purge is to remove all of the items that are broken, no longer work, that you never use (heirlooms excluded) or that you just plain don’t like or want. Toss or donate these.
5. Review what remains. If you have items that are worn and need replacing, such as old non-stick pots and pans with scratched bottoms, pull those items out and set aside.
6. Separate heirlooms first. Pull heirlooms and items you use infrequently that you want to keep and put them away in the highest cabinets that are farthest from the sink or dishwasher.
7. Strategically consider what remains. Once you’ve put away the heirlooms, you should be left with a selection of items you use often or daily. Review these items once more before you put them back into the cabinets. Make sure all items that go back into your cabinets are freshly washed.
Tip #1: Consider the flow and layout of your kitchen. For most people, storing dishes, glasses and mugs in the cabinets closest to the sink and dishwasher is the most functional flow. Think about the way you use your kitchen and create a strategy for placing items where it is easiest to find and use them.
Tip #2: Take advantage of special features of your cabinets, such as pull out shelves and dedicated spice drawers.
Tip #3: Continue to edit and remove items as you put things away. Reconsider the necessity of each item you touch and if you find more unnecessary items, donate or toss them (as appropriate).
Tip #4: Recycle all plastic containers. Most people keep reusable plastic food storage containers long beyond their lifetime, causing chemicals to leach out into the food you’re storing or reheating. Consider a small set of glass or ceramic food storage containers for a safer and longer lasting solution for your leftovers.
Tip #5: When reviewing items that need to be replaced, consider whether you truly need them or not. In our example above of the scratched non-stick pan, if you haven’t used it in a while, it might not need replacing. Many people have multiple pots and pans of similar sizes. Keep the best ones and ditch the rest. You’ll have less clutter and less cookware to build up in the sink for washing.