Gosh, I LOVE a good Top Ten list! These are the tips I find myself telling clients over and over again when I organize their kitchen, so I thought it might be helpful to share them with you:
1. If you see that you have 4+” of space above your plates, cups, etc., then take the time to ADJUST your shelves (if they are adjustable) so they WORK for you! I see a lot of clients just leave the shelves at the same height as when they moved in, and it results in a lot of wasted vertical space. You can even take one of the shelves out and go to Lowe’s to get another shelf cut to those dimensions, if you need another shelf in your cupboard.
2. Food should be stored in upper cabinets or better yet, in a pantry — but never in lower cabinets. Your lower cabinets are typically deeper than your top cabinets, which means food can easily get lost and forgotten down there. Reserve your lower cabinets for your small appliances and cookware.
3. You probably don’t need 5 of every cooking utensil, so if you weed out all of the duplicates, you’ll be able to close your kitchen drawers! Not sure if you use a utensil? Put all of your utensils in a box and write a date 3 months from today’s date on the box. As you use utensils from the box throughout that time period, wash them and put them back into the drawer. Whichever utensils are still left in the box after the date on the box are the utensils you aren’t using, which means you can donate them.
4. When I divide up utensil drawers, I usually divide them up this way: utensils that cut, utensils that don’t cut, baking utensils (e.g. measuring cups, cupcake liners, etc.). If you have more utensils than will fit in three drawers, then go back to tip 3 in this list.
5. With Gladware and leftover containers, it works best to stick to ONE product line of leftover containers. That way, the containers will nest nicely together, and it will be far easier to match up lids. Leftover container drawers almost always get super messy and frustrating when there are a variety of brands in there, so pick one brand and donate the rest.
6. In your pantry, take your cue from your local grocery store and categorize each shelf just like the store categorizes each aisle. This means you will probably have a shelf for baking, pasta and rice, prepared mixes and meals, canned fruits and veggies, etc. Then LABEL each shelf so you and everybody else in the family knows where to find things and where to put things away after grocery shopping.
7. Another tip for the pantry: If you want that Pinterest/Instragram look, then you will need to get in the habit of shopping for ONLY what will fit in the space. Those designer pantries store WAY LESS food than what we typically store in our pantries, so this means more frequent trips to the store.
8. Heavy appliances and cookware should be stored on lower shelves in cabinets or in your pantry, or they should live out on your counter. It’s really dangerous to store heavy appliances (and those super heavy Creuset pots) up high, meaning you have to climb a step stool and lift them over your head to retrieve them. Better to store them someplace down low.
9. Your kitchen towels and sponges probably stink. Throw them out and replace them regularly. Concerned about waste? Then soak them in vinegar and hot water every couple of weeks to kill those nasty mildew smells.
10. Rename the kitchen junk drawer the “kitchen utility drawer” and be really judicious about what lives in there. Organizer trick: Is the junk drawer super cluttered with 100+ tiny things in it? Consider dumping the drawer’s contents into a brown paper bag, put a date on the bag 6 months from today’s date and stash it out in the garage (put a reminder on your phone’s calendar to check this in 6 months). If you haven’t retrieved anything out of the bag by the time 6 months rolls around, toss the entire bag. I typically find that there is nothing stored in junk drawers worth more than $5, and it’s so much easier to start fresh with an utility drawer than to sort through hundreds of mostly worthless items.
I hope at least some of these tips feel do-able, so you can make your kitchen feel a lot more organized and manageable. Happy Organizing, everyone!
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