When it comes to loving where you live, organization plays a big role. And while there are strategies, gurus, and services galore that focus on domestic overhauls, when it comes to organizing your stuff, it sometimes just feels better to do it yourself — and as simply as possible. Just don’t start to organize until you’ve taken inventory and purged the items you no longer need (like that mini food processor you bought with good intentions but never actually use).
So before you start browsing those homes for sale in Seattle, WA or Athens, GA, to find a larger place for all your stuff, consider these simple kitchen organization tricks, which can help you but the fun back into what should be one of the most functional rooms of your home.
Start with a blank slate
When you’re playing the organization game, it’s important to start from scratch — especially in the kitchen. So empty out all those cabinets and drawers, and sort your stuff into three piles: trash, donate or sell, and keep. Take the trash out immediately, and put the donate/sell pile somewhere out of sight (like the trunk of your car), so you won’t be tempted to put any of it back into the keep pile.
Then, separate your keep pile into smaller piles by usage: cookware, dishes, seasoning, and storage, and put them near the cabinets and drawers where they’ll be most convenient.
Location, location, location
Yes, cookware takes up a lot of space — but it should still be easily accessible and kept close to the stove. If getting out your stock pot for spaghetti night is always an exercise in frustration, your take-out menus will probably get more use than it does.
The bottom shelf — prime cabinet real estate — is for deeper pots and pans. Store with handles out to render them just a quick grab away from use and to give you a clear view of what dimensions and depths you actually have on hand.
Like goes with like
Once prep is done and you’re ready to enjoy your culinary creation (a simple cup of coffee totally counts!), the Dish Zone should also be prioritized for easy access to what you use most.
Naturally, this space should live near the dishwasher or dining table (or both), as these are spots where they’ll spend the most time. Dividing this zone into quadrants will save time on cleanup and help traffic flow when you encourage guests to help themselves.
Think of the top sections as ideal spots for fancy wares: party plates, serving bowls, and wineglasses, which can be kept safely organized until party time. (Be sure not to stow any of those pretty glasses on their rims — hanging is ideal — as the chance that they will explode in a dishwasher or chip other dishes is almost a guarantee.)
Finally, bottom shelves are meant for everyday dishes and glassware. We suggest storing plates and bowls on one side and water glasses and favorite mugs on another to make locating, rotating, and keeping track of like groups a simpler process.
Consider how often you use an ingredient before storing it
Believe it or not, your spice rack/seasoning hodgepodge doesn’t have to be sprinkled with daily stress — and long-forgotten Aleppo pepper, gifted dry rubs, and the like. Organize spices, oils, and other ingredients in order of how often you use them. You’ll cut down on the scavenger hunt that this area often induces.
Put some cork on the inside of the cabinet door, and you’ll have a spot to pin recipes or keep your kitchen conversion sheet handy. Have a specialty spice you don’t want to forget to try? Make a note about that and store it here for a hint of cooking inspiration.