Have you ever found yourself floundering in the kitchen, but then caught yourself wondering if there’s even a point to taking the time to organize your kitchen cabinets? If you stop and think about it, there are two very good reasons to buckle down and organize this space, and those two reasons are time and money. An organized kitchen can save me money, you ask? It sure can, especially when you find yourself buying a new appliance or key ingredient only to find the exact same product you purchased months earlier nestled in an inconspicuous space. What about time you ask? Surely it doesn’t take a stretch of the imagination to concede that a kitchen in disarray adds time and frustration to even the simplest of recipes. Short of a complete kitchen remodeling project, your best bet to harmony in the kitchen is taking a bit of time to organize every square inch of it.
Declutter Your Kitchen Cabinets
Decluttering. A ubiquitous term if ever there was one. While it may mean different things to different people, the sentiment is the same: to make a space more functional than it is today. Since you may not have decluttered your kitchen since you moved into your home, here’s what you need to do to get started.
First, get two boxes and designate one for donation and one for the trash. Empty your cabinets of all their contents and consider the importance of each item. As you remove each item, consider its value and the frequency in which it is used. If it’s something you use often, hang on to it – if not, place it in either the donation box or the one destined for the garbage or recycling.
Sort and Arrange Items Back into Your Cabinets
Now that you’ve done the heavy lifting and decided to separate yourself from all the unused colander, ladles, and salad spinners you’ve accumulated over the years, it’s time to put all the stuff you are keeping back into your kitchen cabinets. Before you get started however, take a moment and consider the following:
- Place items where they make the most sense. In other words, find a spot where you can store the items in close proximity to where they will be used. Is the item related to cooking? If so, it makes sense to relocate it to a home in close proximity to your stove.
- Be mindful of segregating similar items. Even though it will be faster, don’t combine food and dishes, glassware and household cleaners. This creates complexity and could lead you to forgetting where something is placed. Remember that your kitchen contains hundreds if not thousands of individual items so it’s in your best interest to group them as logically as possible.
- Categorize – if it works for the grocery store, it will work for you too. Grocery stores have organization down to a science, so you may want to take a page out of their book. Group similar items together as much as possible so that finding the ingredients or utensils you need is easy. The last thing you want to do while your dinner is dangerously close to burning is having to search one of the three possible locations that may or may not contain your spatula.
- Prioritize the items you use the most. Remember that not all things in your kitchen are created equal, so it’s okay to give a priority spot to the items that you use on a daily basis versus those that you bring out maybe once or twice a year. So, if you drink coffee every day and drink wine but once a week, make sure that your coffee cups are located in a spot that is a little more convenient than your stemware.
- Store lesser used items in an alternate location. If your home has a small kitchen with little to no storage space to speak of, you may be faced with the difficult decision of finding an alternate home for some of your lesser used items. Of course, this means different things to different homeowners; to some, it may make sense to store baking appliances in an out-of-the-way cupboard in the laundry room. To others, the solution might be to keep certain items neatly packed away in the crawl space until needed. Though it may sound inconvenient, ask yourself if you’d rather deal with the clutter on a daily basis born of unused items, or have to bring them up from the basement on the rare occasion they’re needed.
Storing Items in Kitchen Cabinets
Once you have an idea of what is staying and what is going, what will remain in the kitchen and what will be stored elsewhere, you can now go about the task of properly storing items in your kitchen. Cabinets organizers can be a great way to increase valuable real estate, but can get in the way if too many are used; try to strike the right balance for your kitchen.
You also want to think logically of what you should keep in your upper cabinets versus lower cabinets. To many homeowners, this is a no brainer but if you’re striking out on your own for the first time, you may want a bit of guidance. In terms of your upper cabinets, you’ll want to store the things that you use most – things like glasses and dishes, food and cookbooks, and storage containers. In the lower cabinets (the areas that are more difficult to reach), store the items that you use less often, namely cutting boards, pots and pans, mixing bowls, and cleaning supplies.
Maintain Kitchen Cabinet Organization Over the Long Term
With all the hard work done, there’s only one thing left to do – maintain the organization. It might sound obvious to say that, but it doesn’t make it any less true. If you spend six hours getting something organized, but fall back into old habits within a month, the likelihood that you’ll spend another six hours organizing your kitchen is pretty slim. So how can you stay on top of it? What it really comes down to is commitment, but the effort is surprisingly minimal. First, commit to doing a thorough declutter once a year. Create an organization plan that you can revisit once a month to address any hurdles you’ve encountered to keeping your kitchen highly functional. Lastly, commit to spending no more than 30 minutes of your week decluttering your kitchen (for example, maybe your utility drawer is getting a little full or you recently decided fondue wasn’t your thing and you need to relieve yourself of the equipment).
No matter how you shake it, there are numerous benefits to keeping your kitchen organized. Hopefully this article will be of some use. If you need a bit more help or are looking for a fresh start in your kitchen, check out Builders Cabinet Supply for the best in custom made kitchen cabinets that you’ll love to keep organized!