Updated: Mar 13, 2020
We all dream of that kitchen that’s so clean and organized that it doesn’t even look like you use it. Perfectly stacked dishes, a meticulously organized pantry, and clean, empty countertops ready whenever you need them. It might seem impossible, but with these tricks, you can have the kitchen you’ve always wanted!
When you declutter your kitchen, you not only create a beautiful space to gather with friends and family, but you:
So, grab a large garbage bag, it’s time to begin!
Start with the expired food. Check your fridge, cupboards, and deep in the depths of your pantry for any food that’s turned. This will protect your other food from mold, and will free up extra space for fresh groceries. By doing so, you’re also bound to find nearly expired ingredients that need to be used soon. Move them to the front of the shelf so you don’t forget to finish them.
Now let’s help you organize for everything you use your kitchen for. Remember, you’re the one using your kitchen, make it work for you!
We really don’t need a kitchen full of dishes. We can get by with enough dishes for one meal and a few extras in case you have a break or a few guests, BUT we never believe that’s enough. We tend to hold onto extra dishes and utensils, convincing ourselves we will need them for the next party we throw or that we need to keep every collector mug we’ve ever received. Do you really need that Disney World mug from 1996 that is so stained that it never looks clean? Part with it.
Having too many duplicates is like having too many clothes, it just allows us to let the dirty ones pile up because you can always grab a new one. Go through your dishes and utensils and decide how many you really need. Donate the rest to a local homeless shelter, soup kitchen or senior center.
Then there’s food storage…
The trick is to store as much as you can together, where you can see and access it easily. You shouldn’t have to travel to all corners of the room to make a single meal or a cup of coffee. Plus, there’s nothing worse than forgetting about something you bought, only to have it expire or to come home with groceries, only to realize you bought something you already had. No one can afford that!
Obviously, the best thing for storing your food is a walk-in pantry where you can neatly store and organize everything. To maximize this space use baskets and boxes to group similar items, like fruits and breads, and use large glass jars for items like pasta and cereal. You can also utilize the top shelf, that may be too high to store food, for kitchen appliances and seasonal dishes. Unfortunately, not all kitchens are big enough to accommodate walk-in pantries. So, what do the rest of us do?
You can still have a pantry! Try to find a ceiling high cabinet that has fairly shallow shelving, around 12” is all you need. The problem with most cupboards is they are so deep that when we store food in them, we tend to lose things in the depths of the darkness, but if a few cupboards is all you have, make the most of them. They often come with adjustable shelves, so make sure you’re arranging them to utilize all of their storage space. If you can’t adjust them, you can get the same effect with elevated shelves or shelf inserts. For your spices, find a spice rack that takes up little space in your pantry. Try one of these great ideas from Good Housekeeping!
What is the first thing you often see when you walk into a kitchen? The countertop.
It’s also too often, the most cluttered area in the room and no matter how organized your pantry is, no kitchen will ever look clean with a cluttered counter. Prove me wrong, you can’t hide the mess. Plus, your countertop is meant for preparing meals, not storing food and dirty dishes.
To keep it tidy, make it a routine to put things away and clean dirty dishes as soon as they appear. If you are lucky enough to have a dishwasher, keep disciplined with it. Make sure it’s empty of clean dishes, so you can always fit the dirty ones. Once you’re done cleaning up, re-evaluate the kitchen appliances you keep on your counter. Do you use them all daily?
Appliances, like crockpots and blenders, aren’t always staples in your daily routine. If they are used sparingly, store them away until you need them.
Still feel like you don’t have enough counter space? Get an island! Whether it’s a big one in the middle of your kitchen or a small, mobile one that you can stow away in the corner, they can add much needed countertop and storage space.
3) CLEAN UP
Most of us store our kitchen cleaning supplies in the cabinet under the sink, but it can be the most inefficient storage space in the room. It is usually a large, empty cabinet with little to no further organization. Some, like many IKEA cabinets, roll out like a drawer which makes it easier to reach the items at the back. If you don’t have that luxury, you can get sliding baskets or trays that do the same thing.
Need more? Organize further with these little hacks:
FINAL THOUGHTS: MAKE IT SUIT YOU
There’s only one person your kitchen really needs to work for… it’s you. It doesn’t matter how many compliments you get on your marble countertop or your cabinets, if your kitchen isn’t practical, it will drive you crazy. You spend every day in there, so make sure it gives you what you need.
Often, the kitchen and dining room are used for more than cooking and eating. Maybe you use the area to pay bills or your kids use it to work on their homework. Either way, keep them in mind when designing and organizing the room. If you have the space, make a “work” nook: