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Over the years, I’ve cooking in many other people’s kitchens. Finding thing can sometimes be a challenge–especially when their organization system seems to be a mystery or non-existent! But I wasn’t always that organized myself. Several years ago, I had gone to the gym early one Saturday morning and on my way home got a call from my husband as he was at home with the kids. He was asking would I please stop at the store and pick up a utensil organizer because he was reorganizing the kitchen. What?!? My husband does NOT do organizing well–normally. What had motivated him, like many of us, was not being able to find something he was looking for when I was not there to tell him where to look. In this case it was well worth it!
I had a loose organization system going prior to then but it needed some tweaking. I must say that although our home is not that large, our kitchen is pretty big and has lots of cabinets for storage (it’s actually one thing that sold us on the house!)
Getting started is pretty simple. Here are few tips on where to begin:
•Keep like items together and create “zones”. In my kitchen I have zones for the following: plates and bowls, drinking glasses and mugs, baking/casseroles, pots and pans, small appliances, serving wear (bowls, platters, etc.), flat items like baking sheets or cutting boards, seasonal items, decorating (I have a probably too large collection of cookie cutters and related sprinkles, food colorings other related tools). In drawers I have daily utensils (forks, knives, etc.), cooking utensils, linens and a lunch prep drawer (used to be for sippy cups but now we keep reusable snack bags and our thermos/water bottles there)
•Keep regularly used items close at hand. I used to keep my kitchen towels in the linen closet in my bathroom. After probably years of running to the closet every time I needed a new towel, I finally re purposed a drawer right next to the sink so that I could easily grab what I needed when hands were wet or doing dishes. Same goes for the drawer next to my oven–a logical place for hot pads/oven mitts. Seems like kind of a “duh” type thing but you’d be surprised how many kitchens I’ve been in that have me running from one side to the other to get what I need!
•Declutter and purge what you have. Whether it’s from blending a family after marriage or just realizing that you’ve collected a variety of like items over the years, it’s good to take an annual look at the tools you have on hand and keep only what you need. Do you really need to have four different soup ladles? How many serving spoons or forks do you really need? Last year we bought a set of new plates and bowls as ours were chipped after many years of use. That was a great time for us to assess how we really used our daily serving wear. As a family of four, we decided to downscale the quantity of dishes we had, saving us space!
•Store seasonal items out of the kitchen: This was another “duh” moment that I did not start doing until a couple of years ago. I used to keep all of our holiday serving pieces in the same cabinets as everything else. It was crammed and I was constantly having to move things around to get to what I needed when I needed it! Now I have a tub of those items that go up in the attic with all the rest of my seasonal decorations so they are out of sight and out of my way until I need them for a particular time of year.
Because we have lots of cabinets, I even have some “non-food prep” cabinets too like the Party Cabinet where I keep all our party supplies. Things like leftover rolls of crepe paper or balloons, my sets of glass and reusable plastic plates, ice cream party bowls and more. Another cabinet has is the Craft Cabinet. In it we have things like play dough or painting supplies. I did this originally when my kids were younger so it would make getting things out for a quick activity easy. Now that they are a bit older, they can get out what they need when they want it!
A little organizing can help you and other find what they need to help you streamline your time in the kitchen. Here’s some links to some excellent articles with more tips to help you get started!
Organize A Kitchen
Basics of Kitchen Organizing.