Last week, we began getting our kitchens in order by assessing our pantry and cold food storage. This week, we’re moving on from food storage to organization and storage of everything else that makes a kitchen work.
The kitchen is often the busiest room in the house, and there are so many easy ways to maximize its potential. Let’s get started!
TIDY AND CLEAN
The first step in organizing your kitchen is to get the room under control. With it being such a central hub of the home, there is undoubtedly always something being left on a counter, in the sink or on the back of a chair. Once the room has been tidied, it will be easier to take stock of the way that the kitchen is being used.
Some quick tips for cleaning the kitchen properly:
- Remember to replace sponges that have seen better days. But don’t necessarily throw them out. Keep worn out sponges under the sink to pull out for cleaning floors, bathrooms or other tough-to-clean surfaces. (green tip: consider using natural sponges — the look pretty and last longer. Or, if you’re really looking to green your kitchen, check out this list of sponge alternatives)
- Keep counters clear by storing essential tools in drawers or canisters close to the stove. once counters are clear, spray and wipe them down as well as the sink, stove and other appliances. Looking for a non-toxic cleaner for everyday use? Try mixing equal parts white vinegar and hot water in a spray bottle, then wipe with a reusable towel or rag.
- Vacuum the floor to get rid of crumbs and mop the space to eliminate any stuck-on dirt or grime.
- Finally, open up the windows for at least 15 minutes a day (even just a crack in the winter) to freshen up the air in the space
ASSESS THE SPACE
Once you have the room clean and clear of clutter, it will be easier to evaluate how the space is working (or not working) for you.
Now comes the hard part. Taking inventory of what you have vs. what you need.
- Start by emptying out your drawers and cabinets. This can be accomplished in one giant dump (which will likely feel quite overwhelming) or drawer by drawer and cabinet by cabinet.
- As you empty each drawer or cabinet out, throw out anything that is broken. Make a separate pile for tools that you don’t ever use that can be donated. And if possible, move tools and items that are used only once a year (say for the holidays) to another location like a basement, garage or storage closet.
- Before putting things back, give the area a quick cleaning. Perhaps you’ll want to add some shelf liner or drawer dividers to make the space more efficient.
- Group like items together
- When purchasing dividers, make sure to measure carefully accounting for any hardware or hinges that could limit space
- Sometimes visuals work best, so check out these organization ideas for some inspiration. We prefer to stay away from plastic, and love bamboo drawer dividers as an eco-friendly option.
- When organizing cabinets think of how you use items. Place the most frequently used items in the easiest to reach places
- Reserve higher cabinets for items that you use less often
- Store heavy items like pots, pans, and appliances in the lowest cabinets so that they don’t fall on your head when taking them out
- Store items close to the places they will be used. Cups near the refrigerator, mugs near the coffee maker, pots and pans near the stove, etc.
- Create more storage by adding extra shelves to existing cabinets or hanging wine glasses from racks mounter underneath the shelf above.
- If you need to store utensils on the countertop, try to group similar items together. For example, place all wooden utensils in one container, and all of the metal utensils in another. Alternatively, keep all of the spoons in one container, all of the whisks in another. By grouping like things together it will create uniformity that will look less like clutter.
- Countertop real estate is at a premium. If you don’t use your drying rack regularly, consider keeping only a small one that you take out when needed to free up more space.
- If you use paper towels (check out this link for making the switch to reusable towels!) consider storing a paper towel holder inside a cabinet door or underneath a cabinet to free up counter space.
- Fruits and vegetables that can be stored at room temperature often end up on the kitchen counter. Consider a tiered basket to keep fruits organized in one area but to allow them from ripening too quickly.
For more tips on organizing your kitchen space check out the following:
10 Secrets of the Organized Kitchen
The Epic (A-Z) Guide to Organizing Your Kitchen
And don’t miss our post from last week on organizing your pantry and cold food storage to minimize food waste and maximize storage!
Want more tips on loving the space your in? Check out our tips on how to love your bedroom and entryway more, too!
Do you have any other tips to share with the community on how you make your bedroom a sanctuary? We’d love to hear in the comments below! Also, feel free to share any before and after pictures with us! We’d love to feature your transformations to encourage others in the community!