Kitchen Organization 101
A place for everything and everything in its place
Have you ever been halfway through a recipe and suddenly realized you don’t have the ingredients you need? Do you find yourself searching in vain for the lid to match a pot and finally locate it in a different cupboard altogether? Start from the top and work your way down to give your kitchen an organization makeover.
Think about the best flow for your space. If you have a dishwasher, you will want to put your everyday dishes in a spot that is convenient when it comes to unloading. However, if your good china only comes out for Sunday dinner and needs to be washed by hand, it can easily be stored on the opposite end of the kitchen.
Keep glasses and mugs on the lowest shelves, so they can be reached by as many members of the family as possible. Large bowls for prep work and regular serving platters make more sense on higher shelves. Store items that only get used a couple of times a year, like vases or fancy serving dishes, on the shelves that are the most difficult to reach. You won’t mind the extra effort if company is coming.
Whenever possible, group similar foods together in the freezer, such as entrees, veggies and desserts, so you can locate what you’re looking for quickly. If you freeze a lot of your own prepared foods for future meals, use sturdy containers that are easy to stack, such as Rubbermaid Easy Find Lids containers. Labeling them with the date they were added to the freezer and rotating the items so the oldest ones are in front is a great way to ensure that everything gets eaten before freezer burn sets in.
First and foremost, clear the clutter. You need adequate space for food preparation, so only keep appliances that are frequently used, like a toaster and a coffee maker, on display.
Store tall cooking utensils, such as spatulas and tongs, in a decorative pitcher or jar close to the stove for easy access as you’re preparing meals and to save a little space in your drawers.
Keep cutlery together with a washable tray that separates the utensils by kind. Larger gadgets, such as potato peelers or garlic presses, are easy to find, so they can float freely in the open area of the drawer.
Deep drawers are ideal for pots and pans, because there is plenty of vertical space to nest the pots within each other and the lids can’t stray very far.
If you have an overflowing junk drawer, small plastic organizing trays are a great way of grouping like items together, such as birthday candles, balloons and tape to wrap presents.
Take advantage of any built-in organizational features in your fridge, such as an egg tray, a butter keeper or fruit and vegetable crispers. Keep condiments all together and easy to reach in the racks on the inside of the door.
Products that get used several times a day, such as juice or water, should be front and center on the top shelf. Store other foods in clear, stackable containers to make the most of your space, while still being able to identify what you have. Extend the freshness of fruits and veggies by keeping them fresh in the Produce Saver. Finally, to avoid an overcrowded fridge, purge foods that are past their prime once a week.
Has your pantry become the land of forgotten food? Take an honest look at what’s lingering in the back and consider tossing out anything that hasn’t been used in the last year and a half.
Organize your shelves by meal – a dessert shelf for baking supplies (use Rubbermaid Canisters for dry goods such as flour and sugar) and pudding mixes, a breakfast shelf for cereal and peanut butter, a lunch shelf for canned tuna and granola bars, and a dinner shelf for pasta and canned veggies.
Still need a little extra room? Consider adding a door-mounted organizer to maximize your space.
Accessibility is the key to using your lower cupboards to their full advantage. Store larger items that you may use a few times a month, such as a slow-cooker, at the back, and keep everyday items in the front. Keep your plastic containers and matching lids together by choosing Easy Find Lids containers. The lids snap to the bottom of their container, so you’ll never lose them, and the containers nest within one another for compact storage.
And if this cupboard is where you’re hiding that bread maker you’ve never taken out of the box, consider donating it to charity or selling it at a garage sale, along with any other small appliances that are still in good working order, but not being used.