“Clutter causes stress, and clutter is one of the main barriers of productivity.”
Imagine waking up and walking into your kitchen that is clean and clutter free. Your counter tops are clear and ready for you to make breakfast. Your fridge is clean and all food is organized and easy to find. The sink is empty and sparkling. You are ready to start your day off on the right foot. Sounds like a dream right? If you put in a few hours and some elbow grease you can have this dream every morning.
The kitchen is the heart of the home. Every person in your family passes through the kitchen and uses it every. single. day! It’s important to have an easy organization system in place to help your kitchen stay orderly and easy to clean. Easy being the key word! Since everyone in your family will use this room multiple times a day, it should be a self explanatory system that is EASY to maintain.
So where should we start?
Everything in your kitchen needs a “home.” But first you need to decide what you actually need before you can decide where it’s home should be. Find a place where you can sort everything. Make three piles: Trash, Donate, and Keep.
“The easiest way to organize your stuff is to get rid of most of it.” -Joshua Becker
You need to be ruthless! Space in your home is precious real estate. Only keep what you truly use and need. You really don’t need as many gadgets as you think you do. Most of the clutter in a kitchen comes from small appliances. They are hard to store and you can end up with way too many if you’re not careful. Some specialty items that you only use maybe once a year may need to go. Look at the space that you have and decide if it’s worth keeping. I always sort through small appliances first, this is where you will find the bulk of the clutter.
Next let’s sort through your dishes. I am a sucker for pretty dishes. Most of these dishes have never been used and probably won’t even be displayed anytime soon. Get rid of any dishes that you are not using or are broke. If you take 15 minutes every night to clean up and are not getting behind on washing dishes, you don’t need to hold on to very many. Keep what your family uses and what you need for guests.
Now sort through all eating and cooking utensils. In this category, aside from the eating utensils for your family and guests, you are safe to get rid of any duplicates. I keep two spatulas and a couple large serving spoons because I use those more than anything. An important thing to bring up, this is your kitchen- you do you! Make it work for your lifestyle and tastes, no pun intended. If you regularly use two of the same item, by all means keep both!
The next category is all the items that you use to cook and bake: pots, pans, cutting boards, and measuring cups. Just like every other category, only keep what you use!
Sort through your towels, hot pads, and wash cloths. Get rid of any that have holes or are really worn.
Spices/cooking and baking items. Don’t stress so much about the pantry/fridge right now, we’ll get to that in another blog post to come. Most spices are stored in cupboards so I’m going to include it with the kitchen. Throw away any that are not being used or are expired.
The last category is anything under the sink. This may be the worst area of your kitchen. Who knows what could be lurking under there. Same story here, weed out what is not useful.
***Biggest take away here: Get rid of everything that you are not using. It’s taking up precious space in your kitchen. It’s also weighing on you mentally and physically. This is the hardest part because there are so many decisions to be made. You can do it!***
Once you have sorted everything now you need to plan out your kitchen. Think through where items need to be in order for your kitchen to be easy to use and efficient. Storing similar items in the same place not only makes it easier to find, but also makes the cleaning up process easy for anyone to follow. Everything in your kitchen needs a home, and a spot on your counter top is not a home. After your done using it, put it away. You get the drill. Figure out what will work best for you and how you manage your kitchen. You will probably have items that I didn’t list. Figure out if you are going to keep it, if so, find where it works in your kitchen. If you are having a hard time finding an item a home because you are unsure of it’s purpose in your kitchen, you should rethink if it’s worth keeping.
- Small appliances store best in lower, bigger cabinets. Keep the most used items toward the front of your cabinets. It doesn’t make sense to reach over a crock-pot that you use once a week for a toaster that you use everyday. Once we get to the pantry, if you have to space there, it may make more sense to store an item in there.
- Store your dishes in a cabinets that is close to your dish washer. This makes it easier to put them away after unloading the dish washer. I store my plates, bowls, and salad plate in one cabinets. Cups and mugs in another.
- Cooking and eating utensils store best in drawers. I store all eating utensils together in one drawer and cooking utensils in a separate drawer. I makes sense to store the cooking utensils in an area where you will be cooking. Because I have my hot pads right next to the oven in a drawer, I store the utensils in a drawer in my island directly across from the stove where I can still easily grab what I need.
- Pots and pans can sometimes be bulky and awkward to store. I used the biggest lower cabinet because it will be easier to get into to find a specific pan when needed. Try to stack them in a way that you will be able to see all that you have.
- Like I said earlier, I store my hot pads in the drawer right next to my stove. That’s where I need them. I have my towels and wash cloths are in a drawer by the sink.
- My spices are in the upper cabinet right by the stove. I am using a couple spice racks that I actually got from a white elephant gift exchange. You can find these handy racks most everywhere. I highly recommend them so that you can see all of your spices. Not only does it make them easier to find, but it also helps your cabinet stay organized.
- I store my cleaning products, small garbage can, and dish washer items under my sink. I make sure that I have a child safety lock on it at all times. It makes the most sense to store these items in this space.
***The biggest take away from this step is to really take a look at what you will need and where you will be in the kitchen when you need it. Take some of the stress out of making dinner by making it easy to find what you need without running all over the kitchen to find it. Group similar and like items together.***
Once you have a plan in mind for everything that you are going to keep, before you put it all away take advantage of empty cabinets and scrub down your kitchen. Wipe everything down, inside your cabinets, cabinets doors, toe kicks, and counters. Dust your walls and clean up any cobwebs on your ceiling. A spot that collects a lot of dust and grim is above your cabinets, scrub this area down as well. The kitchen gets hit hard with food splashes, crumbs, dust, and dirt. The kitchen is the room that if clean and put together can make the whole home feel wonderful, and when it’s dirty can make the whole house fell chaotic and cluttered. In an upcoming blog I’m going to share with you my daily and weekly routines that help keep my kitchen in tip top shape.
Put everything away in it’s home, sit back and admire your hard work.
Tips and Tricks:
- I think I might have said this about 10 times now, ONLY KEEP WHAT YOU TRULY USE!
- To keep your kitchen in great shape all year, after you use something put it away.
- A clean counter top is worth it’s weight in gold, keep it cleared off at all times.
- To keep your kitchen manageable wipes things down thoroughly and declutter every 6 months.
- Use minimal decor in a kitchen. This not only makes it seem bigger, it also makes it easier to clean and maintain.
- Take 15 minutes before you jump in bed and wipe down your kitchen and make sure that dishes are done and everything is put away.
“Cleaning and organizing is a practice, not a project. ” -Meagan Francis
I hope that you have enjoyed this step by step guide to getting your kitchen into a state where you enjoy being there. Post a comment and let me know what you thought or any other advice that you have!