In today’s world the kitchen may also serve double, or even triple duty as a home study center, office or computer room, adding clutter and creating an environment filled with chaos instead of comfort. Even if your kitchen is only used for its original purpose, an unorganized space can sap the enjoyment out of preparing meals or eating them. Whether it’s roomy or compact, a few simple fixes can streamline your space and add to your serenity and enjoyment of it. The next time you can’t find the can opener, take a few minutes to let your blood pressure drop and try these organizing re-dos on for size.
Toss What You Don’t Use – Do you really need that hand-held egg beater or dull-edged potato peeler? Go through your utensils, plates and pots. Toss anything chipped, broken or rusted as well as lidless pots and chipped coffee cups. Replacing old clonkers with more efficient items will minimize clutter and help you feel more organized.
That Goes for Food, Too – Check the expiration dates on rarely eaten items in your cabinets and fridge. Toss out what’s old or almost-old, as well as salad dressing flavors you never use, spices you decided you hate and jars with one inch of congealed product on the bottom. This is a good time to scrub and clean your cupboards and refrigerator doors, too. Place items you use every day within arm’s reach. Date leftovers in your freezer and place the ones with the earliest expiration dates on top for easy access.
Tackle Your Junk Drawer – If your kitchen drawers are housing rubber bands and stickers as well as cutlery, consolidate and isolate like items together in as many drawers as your space provides. Invest in drawer organizers to separate your stuff, making it easier to find and nab the things you need quickly, especially during cooking.
Place Important Items Within Reach –Does your gravy boat really need to live next to your frying pan? Put the items you utilize most within easy reach, keeping pots and pans at the ready near the stove and your day-to-day dishes on the lowest level of the cabinet. Hoist special occasion items, like roasting pans or crystal goblets, onto the uppermost shelves.
Empty Out Your Stove – If you’re using your stove as storage, it’s time to get out of that time-stealing habit. Increase your storage space and save time emptying your stove before cooking by using lazy susans everywhere you can fit them. Use these to organize canned goods and spices as well as cooking gear.
Make Your Table A No-Dumping Zone –Recycle yesterday’s newspaper, file away bill receipts and store or toss book reports, finger painting masterpieces and expired coupons. If your kitchen table is a repository for the daily junk pile-up, create alternative spots for your stuff to live in. Butcher-block kitchen trolleys with enclosed cabinets make great clutter-zappers and serve double duty by camouflaging non-cooking-related stuff.
Ace Your Space – Look around your room and determine where you can add shelving. Over-the-sink shelves are a great place to house easy-to-reach kitchen soap and sponges. Expandable shelves under the sink can help organize your cleaning supplies. Kitchen corners may be able to accommodate floor-to-ceiling in-corner shelving that you can use to house like items, such as baking supplies or ethnic dish ingredients.
Conquer Your Tupperware – No matter what you house your leftovers in, you probably spend more time looking for their lids than cooking. Nest plastic containers with matching lids and store them in size order. If the lid goes missing, replace the entire container.
The Ever-Popular Refrigerator Door –Your refrigerator door probably tells visitors more about your family than any other item in your home. Whether you use it to showcase magnets from vacation spots, family photos or daily to-do lists, keep it looking neat and organized by housing like items separately, such as school permission slips or calendar reminders, in date order. Remove the grease-stained recipes printed from the computer and staple them into a pretty spiral notebook instead.
Chaos may be inherent in the daily grind, but it doesn’t have to rule your kitchen. Turning this all-important room into an organized, tranquil haven can help your family relax, enjoy meal times and each other’s company more than you ever thought possible.