An organized kitchen motivates you to prepare your favorite meal. It’s a grand central area in your home, and most of us jam the space with kitchenware. If you are one of them, then I’m talking to you. I’ll tell you how to organize your kitchen using simple steps.
Planning the Attack
You can start in many places when arranging the kitchen, but I prefer working on the most used utensils and the cooking area first. You don’t have to move about the kitchen for every meal you prepare, so it would help to have the knife, tongs, spatula, and the like in the drawer just next to your stove. This strategy still works whether you have a utensils holder or a drawer.
Cooking utensils vary widely, and you can use a couple of them depending on what you are preparing.
I prefer having the regularly used items to the right of the stove, given that I’m right-handed. The spatula definitely comes to the right, and you can also have salt and spices somewhere close on the same side. The fruit slicer and other less-used items can go to the left.
The arrangement goes a long way than just setting the necessary utensils around your stove. The entire kitchen space needs to look organized and functional. This makes you feel comfortable even when you are cooking from just a few square inches. Keep reading to learn how to organize your kitchen to optimize the space for elegance and comfort.
Decluttering Your Kitchen Cabinets
Ever walked into a friend’s kitchen and wondered how they manage to maintain it in such perfect shape? Well, maybe they just use this simple trick, Decluttering! Decluttering means you scale down the items in your kitchen cabinets, leaving only the essential things. Whether you have a large kitchen with several cabinets or a small one, doing this goes a long way in your organization.
So how do you go about this?
Does Everything Belong to the Kitchen?
There are probably a lot of items that need to move out of your cabinets. It could be other home equipment that belongs elsewhere, broken appliances, or just something you no longer need.
So, pick up a few boxes and head to the kitchen to get started. Classify what each box will hold in terms of broken, trash, or any other categories you have.
I prefer working on one cabinet at a time. You can get everything out from a single cabinet at a time and work on it until you’re through with it. That way, it becomes much easier to identify what you don’t need in that space.
Test The Appliances You Have
It’s the dream of every homeowner to have different kitchen appliances. They are all good, and most of them will make your work easier. However, don’t just buy equipment for every cooking need and stack it up into your cabinets.
It’s essential to carry out periodic evaluations on the gadgets, and you might realize some of them are costing you more than their worth. For instance, you may want to save the space taken by the fruit slicer since you already have a knife that can do the cutting.
Test every other appliance, including dishwashers, blenders, toasters, electric kettles, and any other you have to ensure they are working. Consider repairing any that is not functional, so it will not just take the space for no reason. Also, trash what cannot get fixed, and donate what seems unnecessary.
You can ask yourself a few helpful questions like:
- Does this help to make my kitchen work easier?
- Would I pick this from the store today?
- Do I use this item, or is it extra?
Work on the Bulky Items
Kitchenware varies in size, but you could get tempted to take the bulky ones. Of course, they are good, especially if you have a large family or anticipate an expansion in the future. But are you sure they won’t be bothersome in your kitchen? The large pots and pans will most probably take up all the space in your cabinets and make your kitchen look jammed.
Where do the Pots and Pans Go?
Pots and pans are among the critical cookware, and some of them can be quite bulky. I would instead go for the medium-sized ones and just have a few of them. If you are using a microwave oven and fridge-safe cooking dishes, you can even forego bowls and use them for storage.
Most of them can fit into each other, so you end up using just a little space in the cabinet. Besides, you don’t have to stack them all into the cabinets. Your kitchen wall will probably look good with the pots and pans hanging on the sides with their decorative colors.
Check on Your Spares
It’s good to have spare items just in case. But have you given it a thought that you may have slightly more spares than necessary? Most people have excess spoons, mugs, and plates. A review could have you realize your cutlery and crockery is enough for an extended family of 20 when you are only four in the house.
All you need is enough of these items for your family in one meal in the real sense. You can have a few additions to cater for a few visitors or replacement in case of breakages.
Don’t freak out about the parties and other events. It’s just a day or two, so your neighbor can help you meet the temporary demand. You can also have the recyclable disposable options so you won’t have to store them after the occasion.
Kitchen Drawer Organization
Sincerely, no one loves to see their kitchen messy. However, no matter how hard we try, there is always something we all seem to forget. Maybe you worked hard to declutter the shelves and cabinets, but when you open the drawers later, everything in there seems so off.
Kitchen drawers can accommodate many items, but unfortunately, we never get to utilize the space to its full potential.
Luckily, there are solutions for all your home organization problems, and I’m about to enlighten you on how to organize your kitchen drawers in just two simple steps.
1. Empty the Drawers First
If you feel you are not optimizing your drawer space, this is where you begin. Take everything out and set the items into three batches. Get one for the garbage, especially the broken and irreparable items. The other two batches will hold donation items and the things you still need.
It is a great time to assess the value of a kitchen tool you have been holding for years and determine whether it is still essential. You would be surprised to find out you might have been filling up space with duplicated items. I discovered three pairs of tongs in my last organization and decided to donate two.
2. Find a Spot For Each Item
The kitchen has several utensils and appliances, and not all of them belong to the drawer.
The big question here is not how to organize your kitchen in general. Instead, think about organizing the utensils.
How to Organize Kitchen Utensils, Cookware & Condiments
You can start by arranging the utensils that need to be in the drawers and then work on the rest. You may have some things that need to shift to other areas, like the countertops or the cabinets.
Therefore, the best way to organize the utensils is by writing down a list of what you have and where each item should go. I found it much easier to use a notepad and create different zones for distinct categories of cookware.
I suggest you have the first zone as Zone 1, consisting of the everyday-use items. Of course, these need to come closest to your cooking area, and then other zones can follow as Zone 2, Zone 3, in that order.
Ideally, you will organize the utensils as:
- Zone 1: Cups, plates, knife, bowls, spoons, and cutlery
- Zone 2: Pans, pots, spatula, larger bowls, and mixing cups, among others
- Zone 3: Spices, salt, sugar, honey, dry goods
You can have as many zones as the categories of utensils you have. Create the zones and ensure that everything coming on the list is essential. Decide a spot for the items in each zone based on their frequency of use. You can apply the same technique not just for all other storage areas in your kitchen
However, make sure the zones you choose for the drawers fit in them effectively. You can measure the drawers’ size or even partition them so that the items fit perfectly.
Keeping Your Countertops Tidy
It’s surprising how quickly the unnecessary stuff piles up the kitchen countertops. We all get easily tempted to leave everything at the most convenient surface, especially when in a hurry. It could be a plate, cup, or the bowl you just emptied.
It’s even worse when you have a toddler or two in the house. Your kitchen countertops can quickly turn into a dumping place for keys and toys.
Before you know it, all the space is gone, and it just looks chaotic.
Believe me–I’ve experienced this! It even got to the point that a beautiful solid oak table, I’d bought in Europe started to fill up leaving less room for food!
Here are some of the tips I’ve found helped me out.
1. Use the Inside of Cabinet Doors
The inside of the cabinet and cupboard doors can be a convenient place to store some of the most tempting items to leave on the countertop. You can fix a few hooks on the door and hang a couple of utensils from the inside. Your cooking towel can also find a spot in there. It’s a hidden space but so easy to reach.
2. Make Use of Trays
A clutter-free countertop does not mean you will have nothing on it. Placing a few trays on the counters could make them look more decent. You can arrange some utensils on the trays without the counter appearing cluttered. Besides, if you hold wooden spoons, mixers, and tongs on a tray, there will be no dripping, so it becomes easy to clean the surface.
3. Train Yourself to Keep Items at their Place
Nothing lies on the counter unattended by accident. It can be a bit tempting to leave a used cup up there and rush to work, but if you want to keep your kitchen tidy, make it a habit of not leaving any utensils unattended.
Besides, you have a spot for every item, including those waiting for cleaning, so you can easily place them at the right location in seconds. I ensure everything is clean and put the little things in their proper place before I leave. That way, I’m always sure I can grab a meal in minutes if I get back so hungry.
4. Get a Place for the Non-kitchen Stuff
In most cases, placing unnecessary items on the kitchen counter is a habit, and if you are curious, you may realize you are always decluttering the same things. For me, my kitchen counter almost became permanent storage for sunglasses and car keys.
However, I created a small drop zone at the main door entry. I find the stand at the entrance a perfect spot, so now I just drop them on my way in and pick them up before I leave.
If you are having such problems with other stuff like papers or toys, I suggest you find an appropriate place for the specific clutter. You can look for a basket and position it somewhere in your house and train the kids to drop the toys there.
Try the same for the papers if they are among your most significant issues. You could place them on one of the racks on your stand at the entry or have a simple filing system.
5. Consider leaving the best looking cookware on the countertop
Here’s a slightly different thought–what cookware would you be happy to leave on the countertop? For example, both Staub and Le Creuset, make very nice, attractive Dutch ovens. As long as they aren’t actually in your way, having them on display could work.
They look like they belong.
Organizing the Kitchen Pantry
Your pantry is the spot for food, beverages, linens, cleaning chemicals, and sometimes dishes. While the space on your pantry may have just the perfect partitions, it’s not apparent that you can utilize it appropriately.
If you feel your pantry needs a touch or look a little better, I have some quick tips. Besides, you could think everything is all good, but a read here could make them better.
Get Everything Off the Shelves
Sometimes it takes some disorganization to get things organized, which could be what you need to do for your pantry. If you already have foodstuffs and other things piled up already, you can start by bringing them down all. It may seem a bit like a lot of work, but it’s worth it.
You can evaluate what needs to get back or dispose of and what you need to shift to other areas with everything down. That way, you can create more space for other essential items.
Organize Your Pantry into Zones
Organizing the pantry into zones significantly reduces your cooking time. You have everything in place, so you only need to stretch your arm towards it. You can have different zones for breakfast, simple weeknight meals, baking supplies, and general foods.
You can create more zones depending on the types of foods you have and what you like most. Always ensure the easy-reach zones hold your favorite foods or the ingredients you use most, probably those used on-daily bases.
You probably need containers to hold most of the items allocated to the pantry zones and label them. Containers can be specifically ideal for supplies such as grains. The best type would be transparent containers that will allow you to know when you are running out of stock.
Use Other Household Items
If you have too many supplies for the pantry, it could visibly appear jammed and fail to have that organized look you want. In that case, I would recommend you make use of other items to store your food and some supplies.
You can look for crates, racks, or holders and fit in what seems suitable for the options. All these are cheap alternatives that you can easily find and add to your pantry’s space.
After arranging all your supplies in your kitchen pantry, it will help if you do a little maintenance. It only takes a few minutes to remove some dust and move back to position what may seem a little bit off.
You should know that organizing your kitchen pantry into shape doesn’t take much.
Let’s Not Forget the Kitchen Sink
The kitchen sink and space beneath it are among the most used parts of your kitchen. It’s common for most of us to ignore the cupboards under the sink, giving your kitchen an ugly look.
However, I’ll give you some simple organization tips that could help you quickly transform the sink into a pretty and functional unit.
Keep Everything Close
Have the soap, sponges, and scrubbers within reach. You can find suction cups and have them sit beside the sink, or find a spot for them in the cupboard underneath the sink.
Take Care of the Cupboard Below
The cabinets below the sink can quickly become a dumping site. It’s usually a stench source, which doesn’t sound right for a kitchen if you are not careful.
Make sure you are dumping the small food remains on your plates and pots in the right place. Some particles can find their way down there, but make sure you clean them.
You can quickly get the space organized by following these simple steps.
1. Empty the Cabinet
I always find emptying every space you want to organize the best place to begin. You can clean the inside without any struggle and visualize the unit for different storage layouts by emptying.
2. Clean and Dry
It’s probably been a while since you cleaned this space, so you must take some time cleaning. Check the interior’s condition and see whether you can do something to make it look prettier. It can be adding some extra protection to the floor or the sides, like a shelf liner.
Allow the cabinet to dry or use a dry cloth to wipe out the water before you start re-arranging your items.
3. Get Rid of Unnecessary Items
Go through everything you took out of the cupboard and see what needs to go to the trash. You could find old cleaning soaps and sponges, and you definitely do not need them anymore. Check for the expired supplies as well, and those with too much duplication. You may want to find other storage points for such to free up space.
4. Get Appropriate Organizers
It will help if you find organizers that can comfortably fit in the space you have. You don’t have to drop everything on the foot of the cabinet. Look for containers that can accommodate some of the items like soaps and scrubbers.
Also, you can change the design of the space below for more convenience. For instance, transforming the cupboard into pull-out drawers allows you to reach the items at the far end.
How to Organize a Small Kitchen
According to a recent report, the American people want their kitchens simpler. A study on organizing the kitchen by the National Kitchen and Bath Association revealed that 80% of respondents found minimizing clutter a critical kitchen strategy.
Kitchen organization is all about the space and how you can utilize it. This is critical for a small kitchen, yet here’s some extras you can do to help:
1. Use Shelf Risers
Shelf risers help you create more space on the shelves. They are available in different sizes, so you can have one for the normal kitchen shelf and others for the cabinets. They are ideal storage points for cups, spices, and pantry items.
2. Hang Pots and Pans Sideways
Pots and pans tend to take up a lot of space, and storing them can be a bit cumbersome for a small kitchen. While most of us prefer to stack them into each other, hanging them sideways can be a great space-saving idea. I bought a couple of hooks, and now I have all my frying pans and pot just an arm-length from my stove.
3. Use smaller cookware
It’s tempting to get a large pan for when you need it, but what if you need two pans at once? Perhaps the second one should be smaller.
Yet I feel that shape is often more important than size. Many pans are bulky and awkward, especially with their handles.
I’ve found that griddles, which have low sides, can slide into nook and crannies easily. In fact even large two-burner griddles can be easier to store than smaller skillets.
This is especially the case with cast iron griddles as they are more robust so I’m not as worried if something else is sitting on top of them.
(Or Use Stackable Cookware)
Stackable cookware can be really helpful when it comes to saving space. Why can’t you stack normal cookware? Well firstly you might scratch the interior, especially a problem with non-stick.
But also, if it’s not designed to stack, you might find the shapes just don’t fit well together.
I’ve written a guide on space-saving cookware designed for RVs. But if it works for an RV’s tiny kitchen, it should work for your kitchen!
4. Use Your Oven and Fridge
Some of the appliances you have can be multifunctional. The fridge, for instance, has a large space you can utilize. I recommend having the light baskets at the fridge top to put your snacks and other light items.
Your oven can also store some items like baking sheets, baking pans, and muffin tins. However, always remember to take them out before you turn on the oven.
5. Use Cabinets, Drawers and Countertops Wisely
Even the smallest kitchens most will have the critical components of cabinets, drawers, and countertops. It would be best to utilize these main storage areas to the maximum by following the organization strategies we mentioned earlier.
For the drawer, dividing it into sections helps you maximize the space, and you can even have appropriate-size containers to prevent the supplies from rolling all over.
Cabinets provide the largest space for most of your kitchen accessories, and you can still make some additions. We find the space on the backside of cabinets and the inner side of the door quite useful. All you need is a couple of sticky hooks.
The countertops are best when free to provide you with the freedom you need when cooking. However, you can steal some of the space for your storage needs, provided you don’t make the area cluttered. The countertops organization tips mentioned above can be quite helpful here.
We all agree that a home is not complete without a kitchen. The unit has many reasons to crown it the most important room in every homestead. Despite being a crucial component, you may not always love being there.
The modern kitchen has evolved to be an eco-friendly space hosting smart devices and appliances. With the detailed steps above, you create a functional space and enjoy the efficiency of every cookware, whether you have a compact or spacious unit.