The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in your house. Between cooking and entertaining, people tend to spend a lot of time in their kitchens. They can, however, become disordered and chaotic. Just thinking about the current state of your kitchen may make your blood pressure start to rise, but we’re here to help. Here are some ways to declutter your kitchen so you can stay organized, efficient and operate with ease from meal planning to plating.
Step 1. The first step to declutter your kitchen is to empty out every cabinet, cupboard and drawer. This may seem daunting at first, but it’s the best way to see everything that you’re working with! As difficult as it may be, it is extremely important to resist the urge to start organizing at this stage in the game!
Once you have every nook and cranny emptied out, it’s time to be honest with yourself and toss out anything you don’t want, need, or use anymore. When it comes to food in your fridge or pantry, look for expiration dates as cues whether to toss or save each item. Donate anything that is still usable or edible, and throw out items that are broken, damaged, or expired.
Step 2. Sort, group and categorize similar, like items together. Before you begin the sorting process however, take a look around to see if there are any unnecessary items left behind. Getting rid of any duplicated kitchen gadgets (like 3 ice cream scoopers!) is a quick and easy way to keep the momentum going. Think of your kitchen as a fresh, new canvas now, just ready and waiting for you to create an organizational masterpiece.
Start by breaking everything down into four categories: food, cooking & baking, dishes and cleaning supplies. As you begin sorting, you will start to find different subcategories that appeal to you most, such as silverware, glassware, entertaining pieces and holiday/seasonal items in your dishes category, or measuring cups, pots/pans, cutting boards and specialty tools in your cooking & baking category.
Step 3. The best for last: it’s time to organize! The key to organizing starts with a clutter-free counter. Clear counters not only make your space look tidy and more open, but it makes meal prepping so much easier. In order to maximize efficiency in your kitchen, create designated zones within your kitchen that complement how you work with the space available. Start with areas such as prepping, cooking, baking, food storage, tableware and cleaning. Make sure to store your supplies near the areas you use them most, ensuring that everything is convenient and close at hand when needed the most.
Food Storage: Creating additional zones within your food storage areas will not only maximize convenience, but keep your food fresher for longer. Think of your kitchen like a grocery store; organize areas by expiration dates and keep canned goods, dry foods and spices in cool, dry spaces. Dairy should be kept on the top shelf of your refrigerator, while meat should be kept on the bottom shelf or in the freezer until ready to be prepared for cooking. You can also store ingredients together that are common staples or regular go-to meals in your household.
Maximize Space: Maximizing space in a cohesive way is key to keeping an organized kitchen running efficiently and effortlessly. There are countless amounts of tools and gadgets that can help you make use of any unused areas in your kitchen. Lazy Susans and rotating trays are great for making it easier to reach items in the back of cupboards and your fridge- you can even select multi-tiered trays to help make use of vertical space. Stackable, clear containers can help keep like-items corralled together, but also makes it a breeze to take inventory of things you may be getting low on. Take your organization to the next level by labeling items with chalk pens or vinyl labels.
Store Items Conveniently: The main goal when you organize and declutter your kitchen is ultimately to make things more convenient and easy when working in that space. Consider where the electrical sockets are located in your kitchen and place items that will require plug-access first. Try storing items you use on a daily basis (like your favorite coffee mugs) in easy to reach places, while items you rarely use (like that popcorn maker you were gifted 5 years ago and have yet to take out of the box) in harder to reach areas, like above the fridge or on the top shelf of the cupboard. Most importantly, be sure to store heavier items near the floor!
Deciding to declutter your kitchen may seem like quite the undertaking, but don’t get discouraged! It’s important to remember that your organization can change as your needs change. It’s perfectly okay to move things around to make them work better for you. Best of all, not only will decluttering and organizing your kitchen make cooking and cleaning easier, but putting away groceries will become a much smoother process as well!