This week we are tackling the hub of the home, the kitchen. The kitchen is a gathering place for family and friends, a spot for long conversations over hot coffee, and a place where kids settle to do homework and art projects. It is also a landing spot for everything and everyone which makes keeping it organized challenging and essential.
Even if your kitchen is small, there are a few main areas for focus: baking station, cooking station, cabinets & drawers, under the sink storage, the spice cabinet & the pantry. So, lets dive in and get organized.
1.CLEAR off the kitchen table. This will become your SORTING STATION. I would start with your cabinets and drawers, leaving the pantry and fridge for a separate sorting session.
2. SORT. Remove everything from your cabinets and drawers and start placing items into categories. You can use “post-it” notes to designate the following categories if you would like:
- cooking utensils
- baking products
- cooking products
- cleaning products
- everyday china
- fine china
- KEEP: items that belong in other rooms of your home
- TRASH (use a trash bag or LARGE trash can!)
- CHECK DATES on everything. If its old or expired, throw it away!
- GIVE or THROW away duplicates. Combine half-full containers when possible.
- Coffee mugs tend to multiply so keep only those you love and have room for. Your space determines the number of mugs you can keep.
- If you are short on space, consider paring down your cookbooks. If you don’t use it, loose it. If there is only one or two recipes in a cookbook, write it down, and give away the book. Remember most recipes are accessible online.
Tips for Plastic Ware: Keep only those sets that have a designated top. Place the sets that have missing pieces in the donate pile.
3.CLEAN. At this time, wipe down all shelves and vacuum/mop/sweep the floors, wipe down the backsplash and countertops. Wipe off all appliances, including the inside of the microwave, turn the oven to CLEAN and order pizza for dinner tonight!
4. ORGANIZE. Create a space for each item, and label each area so family member’s can help you stay organized as well.
- Create a Coffee & Tea Station. Group all items together – coffee filters, sugar, mugs, & coffee, & tea. Consider keeping your mugs directly above your coffee pot for easy access.
- Vitamin & Medicine Cabinet . If not elsewhere in your home, designate ONE SPOT for these items.
- Spice Cabinet: If you can, invest in an organization system for spices. (more on that here)
- Stack bowls from large to small. Group glass containers in one spot and plastic bowls in another (minimize duplicates)
- Baking Station. Keep all baking products in one area. Flour, Sugar, Baking Powder and Mixing Bowls should be kept in a similar area for ease and functionality when baking.
- For a real challenge, remove from flour & sugar from bags, and place in containers. Label containers.
- Store cookingware (pots & pans) close to the oven and stove area.
- Designate a cabinet or shelf for your cooking products – spices, oils, and cookbooks.
- Try putting your Everyday Dishes and Bowls in a cabinet near your dishwasher to make it easy to put away.
- If possible, do the same with your glassware.
- Store cleaning products in one spot (maybe under the sink). And minimize duplicates, keeping only what you use.
- Divide your drawers by function: one cooking utensil drawer, silverware, grilling utensils. It is important to MINIMIZE DUPLICATES in this area.
5.REPEAT the above steps for your pantry and fridge. One of the easiest ways to pare down is to check the expiration date. If its expired, throw it out!
- Keep your counter tops clear of clutter by keeping only the essentials at hand – toaster, coffeemaker, fruit bowl.
- If you use it, put it away.
- If it’s expired, throw it away.
- Check your inventory before heading to the grocery. More tips on meal planning & grocery tripping here.
You are half way there! 6 more weeks until your home is cleaned and organized from top to bottom. Take a minute to look at your before and after photos from the last six weeks and see the fruits of your labor. And, if you like what you see, please share it with your friends.
Don’t miss Weeks 1 through 5 in the Organizing 101:
12 Weeks to an Organized Home series.