A disorganized kitchen can make life stressful. Cooking for yourself or your family is much easier when your kitchen is neat and organized. A busy lifestyle can make keeping this part of your home clean a challenge unless you have the right decluttering plan in place. Thankfully, with a few simple tweaks and some habit-forming tips, you can master the art of kitchen organization. Read on for some helpful advice that will make decluttering and organizing your kitchen easy.
The first step to organizing any room is to get rid of the excess clutter. To start, go through all of your kitchen cabinets (top and bottom) and remove everything to get a better idea of what you have. Start purging the items you no longer use by donating them to a local charity or thrift store. Throw away or recycle anything you find that’s broken or unusable. Some examples of items you may need to purge include:
- Old food storage containers that have missing lids or cracks
- Broken kitchen appliances
- Any cooking tools or other kitchen accessories you haven’t used in at least a year
Expired food items
As you declutter, create separate piles, and try to classify all of the items you plan to keep. You can separate items by types such as food, cooking utensils, and spices, for example. Once you have everything separated, it will be a lot easier to organize things and keep them that way moving forward. Take your time and really think about the items you definitely want to keep versus the ones you don’t. Keeping everything separated into different types will ensure that you can easily find what you need once everything is organized the way you want it.
The Perfect Pantry
You don’t need to have a massive walk-in pantry to enjoy an organized space. The key to a tidy pantry is to corral loose items into separate containers, and then add a label for easy identification. When everything is stored and labeled, you can grab whatever you need and go. You can choose from several different types of containers depending on what you have, and what you want to store. Containers and labels are the easiest pantry ideas to implement, and they make finding the items you need a breeze.
- Baskets: Choose woven or plastic baskets to keep items like snacks and fruit in a part of your pantry where everyone can grab what they want easily.
- Canisters: Whether it’s glass or plastic, an airtight canister is perfect for dry goods like sugar, rice, and pasta.
- Bins: A bin is similar to a basket but usually includes a lid to keep food fresher. Use bins for packets of rice, seasonings, and other sealed food items you can stack and store.
Once you’ve gotten all of your food separated into containers, it’s important to label each one clearly. A simple self-adhesive label will work well, and you can use them to write down what’s inside each container. Self-sticking chalkboard labels are also great, and you can wipe them clean and start over if you need to change the contents of your basket or canister later. Clear clip-on labels are another great reusable option. Simply remove the paper label from the clear plastic clip cover and replace it with another one as needed. Make sure your labels are clearly written in large letters so everyone in the family can see exactly what’s in the pantry whenever they need something.
When organizing your pantry, place your containers in a U-shape with items along the back and sides of each shelf. This will make it easy to see what’s on the shelves without blocking other containers from view. Clear containers are best since you can see exactly what’s inside each one without having to guess. If possible, replace the stationary shelves in your pantry with slide-out shelving. This simple update allows you to pull each shelf out so you can get to those hard to reach items that tend to get pushed to the back.
Using Space Smartly
Decluttering is the first step to kitchen organization, but what about after you’ve gotten everything pared down? To make the most of your kitchen, you’ll need to be smart about how you use the space you have. The more you can compartmentalize items, the more organized your kitchen will look and feel. Even if you have a small kitchen, you can keep it organized with some tweaks to your current kitchen design.
To keep everything in order, you’ll want to make sure you have ample shelving. Pull-out shelves in the pantry and inside your kitchen cabinets will make it a lot easier to get access to everything you need. If you have enough wall space, consider adding a few wall shelves, too. You can use these “open shelves” for things like coffee mugs and plates to get fast access to things you use every day.
Loose lids and random baking sheets can make any kitchen seem cluttered. Place some racks inside your cabinets that will help you store pot lids and cookie sheets together, so they’re uniform and sitting upright. A wall-mounted magnetic knife rack is a great way to keep your utensil drawer organized. These racks are perfect to place by the stove so you can grab the knives you need to chop food and prep your meals. Mount a slender metal rail under a section of your kitchen cabinets and use hooks to hang mugs, small pots, and utensils. If you cook with lots of spices, choose a nice spice rack that will keep everything in one central location.
A drawer separator is a great tool to help you get a more organized kitchen. These inexpensive accessories allow you to separate items by type so that everything stays in one place. Too many seasoning packets, measuring cups, and other small kitchen items can get jumbled in an unorganized drawer. A separator will allow you to organize your stuff in an easy way so you can quickly grab the things you need. Shuffling through a crowded drawer can be frustrating and it might even cause you to buy something you don’t need out of frustration if you can’t find it fast.
Adapting Your Kitchen
If you have young children or elderly family members at home, it’s important to ensure that you have an accessible kitchen that’s easy for them to navigate. You also want to make sure that your kitchen is safe in order to reduce the risk of fire or injury. Thankfully, it’s easy to stay organized while adapting your kitchen in a way that works for everyone.
Adapting for Seniors/Disabled
Whether you’re a senior yourself or you have one living with you, there are some things you can do to make the kitchen safe and organized. Kitchen safety for seniors and the disabled should always be part of your plan if you have elderly people in the home.
- Place commonly used items down low inside lower cabinets or on top of countertops so seniors don’t have to reach up high or use a step stool.
- Ensure you have ample room in the kitchen for wheelchairs to easily get through – a good flow is necessary to prevent injuries and it helps with easy access to appliances and cabinets.
- A lazy Susan is a good alternative to stacking items in a cabinet. This rotating platform makes it easy to grab canned goods and other items without having to reach.
- Color-code your pantry with colored labels, which will help seniors suffering from dementia to easily find the items they need without having to read the text.
- Add a low-profile table to your kitchen so seniors or wheelchair-bound people can prep and eat without having to sit higher up at the island.
Create a Child-Proof Kitchen
If you have curious kids at home, there are a lot of things to keep in mind if you need to child-proof your kitchen. These easy tips will help make the kitchen safe and fun for everyone.
- Add child safety locks to cabinets so little fingers can’t get to medications or cleaning supplies.
- Use kid-safe outlet covers or safety plugs to prevent the risk of electrical shock.
- Keep plastic bags stored out of reach to avoid the possibility of suffocation.
- Never leave your child unattended in the kitchen, especially if the oven or stove is on.
- Secure your refrigerator door so kids cannot open it and accidentally get trapped inside.
- Childproof door latches will keep the door shut and make it impossible for them to open it.
While a neat, tidy kitchen is beautiful and will make you feel a lot better, safety should always be the first priority. Fires, burns, and other emergencies can happen any time, but they can be mitigated with some simple kitchen safety tips.
Fire Hazards and How to Prevent Them
- Always stay in the kitchen whenever the stove burners or oven is on.
- Watch your food as it cooks to prevent it from boiling over and possibly causing a fire.
- Keep flammable items like kitchen towels, curtains, and oven mitts away from the stove so they don’t accidentally catch fire.
- Store a fire extinguisher in the cabinet closest to your stove so you can put out a kitchen fire fast.
- Test all of your smoke detectors and replace old batteries as needed.
Knife Safety Tips
- Pick up kitchen knives by the handle and never by the blade.
- Store kitchen knives out of the reach of children.
- Always cut food on a flat, stable surface and cut items facing away from you.
- Choose the right knife type and right knife size for the appropriate task.
- Keep your knives clean and dry when not in use to prevent rust and contamination.
Handling Raw Meat and Poultry
- Use a separate cutting board and plate for poultry, meat, seafood, and eggs.
- Always use a food thermometer when cooking meat to ensure it’s at a safe temperature before you eat it.
- Never let the juice from raw meat or poultry touch other food. Wipe up spills and disinfect countertops immediately.
- Always wash your hands thoroughly with soap and warm water before and after handling raw meat.
- Don’t place cooked food on surfaces that were previously used to cut raw meat or chicken.
Having a clean, organized kitchen can make cooking fun and stress-free. Use containers and labels to keep your pantry organized, and make sure you get rid of the things you never use to free up more storage space. Adapt your kitchen to make it safe and accessible for seniors and children. Practice kitchen and cooking safety measures to ensure a healthy, happy home. With these easy tips, you can enjoy a beautiful kitchen the entire family will love.