You’re prepping for the holiday season and the disorder of your kitchen is coming to the surface. You’re sick of having to take six things out of the cupboard to reach a bowl from the back and the holiday deadline is motivating you to get organized. You crave some organization in your kitchen.
For six years, I struggled to get my mixing bowls from the back of a corner cupboard, always having to take out the smaller bowls in front and moving the glass storage containers to the side. Six years! I’m the organizer and you’d think I’d realize I need to see things with an organizer’s eye, but instead I saw things the way they always were, not having an open mind that things could be done differently. Or better!
When I finally had this revelation that I didn’t need to be frustrated every time I baked, I ordered an 18” lazy-susan, popped it in the cupboard, and poof! my world was changed. The small things can definitely make my world go round! (pun intended)
Simplification and a little perspective can make a difference.
Here are a few quick kitchen hacks to get your kitchen in quick shape. A little purging and organization is sure to add energy and confidence to your holiday preparation.
Small Appliances Reality Check
Survey the small appliances in your house. The ones you use weekly should be easily accessible. The ones you never use should be given away. The ones you occasionally use can be in the back of a cupboard, top shelf, or in another room. Appliances make life easier, so make them accessible. A waffle maker is amazing, but if you never make waffles and only keep it because you received it as a wedding gift and waffles seem like a great idea…believe me, it’s just taking up usable space.
Storage Container Overhaul
Plastic and glass containers somehow multiply and avalanche on their own. Match lids and bottoms and discard the ones that don’t have matches. Dump the ones that are melted from microwave and dishwasher damage; and most people should downsize by at least a quarter. Don’t get stuck in the fact the containers came in a matching set, if you don’t use it, part with it. Nest the containers by size and store the lids along side the containers or in their own drawer, ideally upright [vertically] so you can see all the lids at once. If containers are a contention point in your kitchen, commit to having either round or square, not both. It simplifies the lid searching process and they stack better.
Utensil Check Round Up
Utensils, spatulas, and serving utensils can also get a bit out of hand. You always reach for the top one and never the bottom one. And the one you use is often times worn out and needs to be swapped out for something that doesn’t melt or scratch your pan. Lay them all out on the counter and sort by type and size. Discard the ones you never use or are worn out. Wipe out the drawer while it’s empty and purchase a drawer organizer if you don’t have one. A little separation goes a long way. Only put back in the drawer what is useable and that you like to handle. Remember, just because it came with a set does not need you need to keep it.
Clear Counter Concept
I always say a clear counter is a clear mind. It’s ideal to not store much on the counter, though I know for some kitchens that’s not completely realistic. After you’ve conquered a few of these kitchen hacks, you may find that you have opened space to store something in a drawer or cupboard. If you do have to keep something on the counter, be sure it’s something you use almost every day. It doesn’t warrant the space otherwise. For example, your mixer shouldn’t be on the counter if you never bake. Store it in another room or back of a cupboard or swap it out for an appliance you do use frequently.
Keep all your food in one general area of the kitchen. Don’t have it scattered throughout the kitchen [or house!]. When items are spread out, and stored in miscellaneous cupboards or drawers, it does not give cohesion to your kitchen and it’s hard to remember where you keep what, which increases the potential for buying duplicates. Pull out all your food, discard expired items, and do your best to consolidate into one part of the kitchen.
Store Items Where You Use Them
There are obvious items such as the pot holders should be close to the stove; the silverware should be in the most accessible drawer; and the cups and plates should be near the dishwasher. Keep all your baking supplies together, the metal pans together, serving trays together, etc. The items you use the most should be the most accessible. The items you use occasionally, can be an extra step away, and the items you only use on special occasions should be nestled, on the top/back shelf, or in a different storage location. The kids items should be kept in a low cupboard so they can access the items themselves. A great example is if you bake: have all the baking supplies, bowls, and spoons stored near your main working counter space, then you don’t walk back and forth over and over to get things out/put away. I know that’s not practical for all kitchen set ups, but strive towards that concept.
Paper is a beast on its own, but in the kitchen it needs to be wrangled. If the kitchen is the landing zone in your home for papers, be sure to have a system for them to be sorted and managed, whether it’s in the kitchen or in another space, so that the papers don’t stay in the kitchen to be buried and lost. In the kitchen, have a magazine tray or magnetic board to store all the reference papers you receive and refer to often. Items such as appointment reminders, meal plans, school/church schedules, important numbers, coupons, etc. These are items that you look at often, but don’t really have a permanent place for because they are always being updated. Limit it to one contained space or communication center.
If this seems overwhelming, take one or two categories and focus on those. Set a timer for 25 minutes at a time and work on a designated drawer or cupboard. These hacks aren’t intended to resolve all your kitchen woes, but it gives you a launching point for seeing your kitchen in a new light and with better organization and function.
The kitchen is the central hub for most homes. It often times trumps a large cozy couch, because people like to gather around the counter. Meals and memories are shared in the kitchen…so love your space!
One of my most treasured photos of my sisters and I in my mom’s kitchen, which holds so many dear memories, especially around the holidays! I’m thankful for a family who opened up their kitchen to anyone who needed a place to dine.
Need more support? Contact Michelle Kuiken, Organizer + Productivity Coach to help you find the best solutions to make your kitchen more efficient. CONTACT HERE