Do you find yourself slamming drawers and cupboard doors shut while looking for something in the kitchen?
If so, it may be time to get this room under control.
Adding organization to your home starts in the kitchen. It’s the common room in your home, used by everyone. This regular use means it’s also the first area to fall victim to clutter and untidiness.
The end result? That one thing you swore you knew where it was, and now you can’t find it.
Before you drive yourself crazy, tearing your cupboards apart, take matters into your own hands. Use these seven tips to straighten up the space so flawlessly, even a child will know where things go.
1. Keep Your System Simple
Don’t spend countless hours trying to organize your kitchen down to the last detail. You don’t need to alphabetize every can or ensure its label is facing forward.
Keep it simple with a routine that everyone can help you with – without needing detailed written directions.
An easy way to do this is to split your kitchen into zones.
It’s a well-known fact that this room’s purpose is to clean, cook, and store your food. So why not use these three main categories to keep it organized?
Grab a pencil and sheet of paper and sketch out your kitchen. You don’t have to be an artist. You’re the only one who is going to see this. Your goal is to map out three zones: cleaning, cooking/prep, and pantry.
Focus on the sink and the storage space around it. Think about what you use closest to the sink, including cleaning supplies and dishes. How can you store those items, so they are right next to this area?
Repeat this for the stove. What items do you use when you prep and cook your meals? Store spices, pots and pans, cooking utensils, towels, and oven mitts as close to the cooking/prep zone as possible.
The leftover cupboards are your pantry and non-consumables zone.
Now that you have a rough idea of what goes where it will be easier to take everything out of your cupboards and start from scratch.
2. Streamline What You Use Daily
Play out your day in your head. When you stumble into the kitchen in the morning, what’s your go-to routine?
Do you inhale your coffee with some toast? Or maybe you have a daily breakfast shake in your blender?
Whatever you use every day should be easily accessible. Keep your toaster, blender, and coffeemaker in one central area on the counter. Store the accessories for those items in a drawer or cupboard next to it.
Some people use a crockpot or Instant Pot almost every day. If you don’t want to leave these cumbersome appliances on your counter, keep them in an easy-to-reach cupboard in the cooking zone.
This rule applies as you return things to their new drawers. If you don’t use it often, store it in out-of-the-way spots, but if it’s a frequent flyer – keep it nearby.
3. Make Use of Accessories
Shopping for kitchen gadgets to organize your cupboards and drawers can be fun. There’s so much to choose from that you may never know you needed something until you see it!
Many of these items are geared toward making better use of space in small kitchens. Others are great for maximizing how to use larger areas, preventing disorder.
Your kitchen might benefit from any or all these storage supplies:
- Lazy Susans
- Food wrap caddies
- Shelf enhancers
- Refrigerator drawers
- Pot and pan organizers
- Lid organizers
The list goes on and on. Make a budget and a list of areas in your kitchen that need some help before you start shopping. Otherwise, you may end up down a rabbit hole of storage supply options!
4. Avoid Stockpiling Supplies
Stockpiling is a favorite hobby in today’s bargain-driven society. Couponing is more popular than ever. Making it common to see dozens of the same item in the pantry of hardcore couponers.
Even if you’re not a coupon shopper, BOGOs are tempting. But none of these bargains are actually smart shopping if everything sits around and expires.
The truth is, if you won’t use it – it’s not a good deal.
Without a system to continually rotate your old items with the new ones, you’ll have lots of waste, too. The more you stockpile, the harder it is to keep track of expiring and expired goods.
5. Create a Central Communication Hub
Everyone goes through your kitchen at some point throughout the day. It makes sense to use this area as a central point of communicating important information.
Is it a regular issue that someone drinks the last of the milk and doesn’t let you know? Put a memo board on the fridge to use as a grocery list.
Does everyone’s schedule conflict with each other’s? Hang a calendar on the empty wall space in the kitchen to keep track of every appointment or event.
This tiny tweak in how you use the kitchen can save significant friction down the road.
6. Specify an Area for Hanging Out
It’s like the science of magnetic attraction: A flat surface collects junk, and no one in the home seems to know how.
If they can get away with it, your family will leave their clutter on your surfaces. But if you have an area in the kitchen specifically for hanging out, it limits that problem to one space.
Designate an area for electronics by keeping a plug tower, an office caddy, and comfy seats at the island. This encourages your loved ones to hang out with you while still limiting them to one central area.
Be mindful of water and food prep mixing with the electronics tower, though. It’s a good idea to have anything electronic stored away from direct contact with the counter. Use a waterproof shelf that doubles as storage to prevent dangerous situations.
7. Use Labels
If you want everyone to know how to help you keep organized, you can’t be too specific. Bins and baskets are great ways to store like items together. Labels on those same containers serve as a reminder of what’s supposed to be in each space.
This little trick eliminates the excuse that no one can help with kitchen upkeep because they aren’t sure where to put things.
Create your own labels or buy an electronic label maker, but make sure it’s easy to know what goes where.
As you’re cooking, your temper and stress level might boil along with the water if you can’t find what you’re looking for when you need it.
Seven secrets is a lot. Try picking at least one organization tip from this list to implement a week. In a little less than two months, you’ll be cooking in what feels like a brand new kitchen!
But when you redesign your kitchen in a simple, yet effective, way, meal prep and cleanup becomes enjoyable for everyone.
About the author
Caitlin Sinclair has five years of Property Management experience working primarily in high-end apartment community living. Her ability to consistently deliver white-glove service to her residents and prospects has propelled her in a successful career that now finds her leading the team at 717 Olympic.