Have you ever opened a kitchen cabinet, then a bag of chips or a mountain of Tupperware lids came tumbling down? Or, maybe you always spend several minutes too long searching through your drawers for your favorite spatula. If so, perhaps it’s time for a reevaluation of your current organization status.
Your kitchen is likely full of gadgets and cookware you only pull out every three years or whenever it’s your turn to host Thanksgiving dinner. (Seriously, when was the last time you used that turkey baster?) These unnecessary items are taking up valuable real estate in your cabinets, so some purging or rearranging, at least, will make cooking much easier.
How to Declutter Your Kitchen
- Pull Everything Out of Cabinets and Drawers
It can seem daunting to take out every dish, Mason jar, and frying pan, but it’s necessary. Because you collect so many items over the years, you may have forgotten about all the cookware that you own, which means they're simply collecting dust rather than being used to their full potential. It may feel less overwhelming to do one cabinet at a time, so you won’t be burned out by the piles.
- Marie Kondo Time (For Some Items)
You may be familiar with the Netflix show “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” where Japanese tidying expert Marie Kondo teaches homeowners a new way to organize their houses. Other organization experts may claim that tossing or donating every single item you don’t often use is most effective, while the Marie Kondo method begs to differ. She insists that we should only keep things in our home that either serve a purpose or bring us joy. Why would we hold on to something if we don’t love it? So, if you don’t want to part with your grandmother’s vintage potholders, then don’t! If parting with your wedding crystal brings you sadness, then display it so you can enjoy it more often.
- Declutter Items that Don’t Bring Joy or Purpose
Do you remember that New Year’s Resolution that you made in 2009, when you promised you were going to become "more creative in the kitchen?” Well, that spring form cake pan, wok, and that popsicle mold that you purchased still haven’t been cooked with. If you haven’t used them in the last decade, then you probably won’t use them in the next decade. Sell or donate all that spare cookware so someone else can enjoy confectionary experiments with their new gadgets.
- Wipe Down Cabinet Interiors
It’s strange. Even if you don’t store food inside of your cabinets, it seems like there are always going to be crumbs, splatters, and even stray chocolate chips hiding in the back corners. If needed, use the fine nozzle attachment on your vacuum to clear away any debris. Then, use an all-purpose cleaner and a rag to wipe down the shelves.
- Set Guidelines in the Kitchen
You know exactly how it goes: One day you will unload the dishwasher and put the cheese grater in its “rightful” place, only to discover a few days later that someone in the household has moved it to an entirely different cabinet? Rifling through drawers for lost tools is not only frustrating and time consuming, but it will also cause more messy chaos. It may be beneficial to talk to your family members or roommates to determine the permanent homes for each item, down to the last fork and lemon press.
How to Organize Your Cabinets and Drawers
Now that you’re left with all your essential and/or sentimental cooking utensils, it’s finally time to reorganize them in their rightful places. Purchasing an assortment of tools such as acrylic bins and bamboo organizers will make this job much easier.
Our Favorite Kitchen Organizing Products:
Acrylic Bins: These clear bins are perfect for corralling dish towels, cleaning supplies, or snacks in the pantry. They're deep enough to fit a lot inside, but also sleek enough to stack a couple in the cabinets.
Bamboo Organizers: Say goodbye to the days of your forks and knives constantly sliding around with each drawer closing and opening. These bamboo organizers will keep your utensils perfectly in place — and no more scratching up the interior of the drawers.
Pot Lid Holder: I think we all can agree that trying to find the matching lid for your stock pot takes too long. This lid rack will keep all of your lids in the door interior, so you won't take up precious space inside of the cabinets.
Tiered Spice Rack: No more blindly grabbing the paprika instead of the cinnamon for your banana bread. This spice rack has three layers, so you can clearly see exactly which spices you have in your cabinet.
Cookie Sheet Rack: Have you ever had to dig to the bottom of your oven drawer to find that one muffin tin, but you had to rifle through like four cookie sheets and various pans? This rack will keep all of your pans standing straight up so you can easily pick one out and go.
How to Organize Your Refrigerator
When you open up your fridge, does it smell a bit stale or even like rotten vegetables? We get it, lettuce goes bad before you can make that salad you promised you would eat. Chances are your food might be molding quicker than you can eat it because you simply don’t have a clear view of everything in your fridge. Sometimes food can get shoved to the back corner and forgotten about for months, so that could be contributing to the moldy smell.
1. Clean and Clear Everything
Take all of the food out of the fridge and set it aside on the counter. Toss any expired items and wipe off any sauces or jars that make be leaking out of the sides. With a soft cloth and white vinegar, clean the interior. For a more thorough cleaning, completely remove the shelves and drawers and rinse in the sink with hot water and dish soap. Dry thoroughly, then return them to the fridge, adjusting as necessary.
2. Food Placement Can Keep You Safe
Remember: Always keep raw meats away from any fruits and vegetables. Their juices can carry harmful bacteria, such as E. coli or Salmonella, which can make you extremely ill. Depending on your fridge configuration, it is best to keep raw chicken, beef, bacon, etc. in the bottom drawers, to avoid contaminating your produce.
3. Bins are Your Best Friend
Acrylic bins will group similar items together so that you can easily see and access the food. While expensive, this set of clear bins will corral everything from condiments and eggs, all the way to soda cans and wine bottles. This will not only keep your refrigerator clean and organized, but will help you quickly take inventory of items you’re running low on before you head to the grocery store.
Even if you enjoy or strongly dislike cooking, organizing your kitchen will bring more peace into your everyday routine. That’s why Benjamin Franklin accurately said, “For every minute spent in organizing, an hour is earned.” Maintaining a kitchen that only holds the tools that you use and love prevents overwhelming mess. Being intentional about the things we keep in our homes will allow us to have a greater appreciation for them, so we should treat them with respect by keeping them orderly.
How do you maintain an organized kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!